The dangers of electronic cigarettes on male fertility

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When e-cigarettes first appeared in the mid-2000s, they were presented as a safe alternative to smoking. However, it’s becoming increasingly clear that vaping is not without risk. Numerous recent studies indicate that e-cigarettes could harm not only our overall health, but also our fertility. Water vapor enables nicotine to be inhaled as vapor instead of smoke. So, instead of burning tobacco as traditional cigarettes do, a vaping device heats a water-based liquid containing various elements, such as nicotine, flavors and chemicals.

Composition of e-cigarettes and health risks

E-cigarettes do not produce tar or carbon monoxide – some of the most harmful products of tobacco smoke – which seemed like a considerable advantage in the early days! Vaping quickly became a popular alternative to smoking, and many smokers adopted it in an attempt to quit. Although in many ways vaping can be better for your health than smoking, it still contains a range of harmful chemicals that can cause physical damage similar to that of smoking. These include:

  • Nicotine particles, as in cigarettes;
  • Ultrafine particles that can cause lung damage;
  • Diacetyl, a chemical linked to many lung diseases;
  • Heavy metals such as lead;
  • Acrolein, a herbicide that can cause lung damage;
  • Glycols linked to lung disease;
  • Cadmium, a toxic metal also found in traditional cigarettes;
  • Benzene, a carcinogen also found in car exhaust.

Research into vaping and male fertility

We still have a lot to learn about male fertility and the factors that affect it. However, recent studies suggest that vaping is not beneficial for sperm health! A recent animal study by Turkish researchers at Sivas Cumhuriyet University showed that it could be linked to lower sperm counts and libido, as well as reduced testicular size.

Another 2016 study in rats found a negative impact of nicotine-freevaping liquid on testosterone levels. In 2017, a study by University College London showed that nicotine-containing products were more effective in reducing sperm count than nicotine-free products. In 2020, a Danish study revealed that men who regularly vaped had lower sperm counts than their non-smoking counterparts.

Protecting your fertility: towards complete smoking cessation

When it comes to preserving your fertility, you need to do everything you can to limit the penetration of toxic chemicals into your body. If you’re a smoker, it may seem that vaping is a good intermediate step towards quitting; however, the only way to guarantee that you’re not harming your “swimmers” is to stop using tobacco in any form altogether.

Switching to alternative solutions such as nicotine substitutes (patches, gums, lozenges) or non-medicinal methods (hypnosis, acupuncture) could be beneficial in this process. It’s important to be accompanied by healthcare professionals to increase your chances of success and maintain a healthy, fulfilling sex life!

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