Smokers Are Less Fertile, Says Report; Cigarettes Responsible for 5,000 Miscarriages a Year - BMA

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), February 12, 2004 | Go to article overview

Smokers Are Less Fertile, Says Report; Cigarettes Responsible for 5,000 Miscarriages a Year - BMA


Byline: SANDRA MURPHY

A LEADING medical body is calling for tough anti-smoking measures after a report yesterday revealed the most powerful evidence yet that smoking damages fertility.

A study by the British Medical Association showed that smoking caused impotence in 120,000 men aged between 30 and 50.

It is responsible for up to 5,000 miscarriages a year, reduces the chances of successful IVF and is implicated in cases of cervical cancer.

Experts warned that smokers were gambling with their reproductive health and urged young people to quit the habit to safeguard their chance of having a family.

The research, which covers all aspects of reproductive health at different stages in life, is the first of its kind in Britain.

Drawing together hundreds of scientific studies, it covers the effects of tobacco use on male and female fertility, menstruation, pregnancy, the unborn child, breast-feeding, and the menopause.

It also examines the link between smoking and diseases of the reproductive system.

Dr Vivienne Nathanson, the BMA's head of science and ethics, said the sheer scale of damage that smoking causes to reproductive and child health was shocking.

"Women are generally aware that they should not smoke while pregnant but the message needs to be far stronger.

"Men and women who think they might want children one day should bin cigarettes," she said. …

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