Ask the Doc: Does vaping affect male fertility?

Question

Does vaping affect male fertility?

Answer

The effects of vaping on men’s fertility are unknown but that doesn’t mean vaping has no effect, and the reality is it’s probably bad.

Vaping is only recent, so there hasn’t been enough time for it to be studied properly. What we do know, so far, is that the vapour that you inhale contains hundreds of poisonous chemicals, some of which are known to damage DNA (the genetic material in cells) and thereby pose a risk to fertility, reproduction and development[1]. This isn’t a lot different than the thousands of poisons in tobacco smoke, and the damage they do to sperm count, shape, movement and DNA, and the associated reductions in male fertility[2].

Vaping is promoted as being less dangerous to health than smoking tobacco but that doesn’t mean it’s safe. Vaping causes lung disease that kills people[3], and you certainly can’t have kids if you’re not around.

The best way to increase the possibility of having kids when you decide the time is right is to look after yourself. Anything that makes you unwell has the potential to reduce your fertility, vaping included.

Tim Moss

Biomedical research scientist

Associate Professor Tim Moss has PhD in physiology and more than 20 years’ experience as a biomedical research scientist. Tim stepped away from his successful academic career at the end of 2019, to apply his skills in turning complicated scientific and medical knowledge into information that all people can use to improve their health and wellbeing. Tim has written for crikey.com and Scientific American’s Observations blog, which is far more interesting than his authorship of over 150 academic publications. He has studied science communication at the Alan Alda Centre for Communicating Science in New York, and at the Department of Biological Engineering Communication Lab at MIT in Boston.

Keywords

Fertility
Smoking
Vaping

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