Tobacco and Reproduction,
Premature Menopause, Impotence, Etc.

Tobacco smoke contains toxic chemicals including carbon monoxide, cyanide, and polonium. These chemicals have many adverse effects, including on reproduction, menopause, and in terms of causing impotence. Here is a summary of pertinent information, and some medical book and journal references for further reading.

Ot is well established that "Smoking damages men's sperm and also the numbers of germ and somatic cells in developing embryos" (28 September 2010). For example, "a mother's smoking during early pregnancy dramatically reduces the numbers of germ cells (the cells that form eggs in females and sperm in males) and somatic cells (the cells that form every other part of the body) in the developing foetus."

The pamphlet "Tobacco Abuse" indicates that over three centuries ago, in the 1650's, "the French reported that tobacco smoking shortens life and produces, among other things . . . impotence."

The French writer, André Thevet [1502-1590], described the serious effect of tobacco on the sexual system in the year 1555.—American Medicine 680-681 (23 April 1904); and Charles E. Slocum, M.D., Ph.D., LL.D., About Tobacco and Its Deleterious Effects (1909), p 43.

Turkish physicians were reporting likewise in the 1620's - 1640's era, as alluded to by Dr. John Lizars in his book, The Use and Abuse of Tobacco (Edinburgh: 1859), pp 55 and 120. Note that the medically-alert King of Turkey, Sultan Murad IV, thereupon banned tobacco.

That "universally used poison [does] account for the . . . loss of 509 infants to every 1,000 married men." says Herbert H. Tidswell, M.D., The Tobacco Habit: Its History and Pathology, by Herbert H. Tidswell, M.D. (London: J. & A. Churchill, 1912), p 202.

In his book, Tobaccoism or How Tobacco Kills, Dr. John H. Kellogg at 106 indicates,
"A research conducted by Drs. Roth and Mitchell in the laboratories of the Battle Creek Sanitarium has shown that tobacco smoke destroys the power of reproduction in rats, affecting both males and females. The female has been found to be more easily affected than males."

At 105, "Petit gave tobacco to guinea-pigs, dogs, cocks, and rabbits, both male and female. The tobacco was given in the form of smoke or mixed with their food. The result was rapid sclerosis of the ovaries and testicles."

At 104, "A cock was placed every night in a chamber in which six grams of ordinary caporal tobacco was burned during the night." "The chickens of the tobacco-poisoned cock were meager and feeble and lacked animation and the plumage was rough. These experiments were made by Depierris," p 105 continues.

At 123, "Lewin states (Jour. Comp. Neurology) that in female smokers menstrual disturbances are frequent and that abortion occurs often among female cigar smokers. . . . strong evidence has appeared that the effect of cigarette smoking is to unsex young women by producing premature degeneration of the sex glands."

At 106, "In 1906 a special committee of the House of Lords of the English Parliament, reported a . . . bill to prevent juvenile smoking. The committee called especial attention to the fact that . . . boys show many evidences of deterioration, lessened height, and as professor McKeever informs us, were often observed to be 'sallow, sore-eyed, puny, squeaky-voiced, sickly, short-winded, and nervous' . . . ."

At 123, "Lydston asserts that tobacco has a pronounced deleterious effect upon the genito-urinary tract."

Tobacco was, says an 1882 book, "in those olden times, put under the ban . . . because of its effects in deteriorating and depleting the population." See Meta Lander, The Tobacco Problem (Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1882), p 202.

The New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 307, Issue 17, pp. 1062-1065, 21 Oct 82, indicates, "It is known that women who smoke have an earlier menopause than those who do not." At 1063, "smokers had substantially and significantly lower levels of all three major estrogens in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle." At 1064, "There have been reports that tobacco smoking reduces levels of testosterone in men, as well as levels of human placental lactogen and rates of estriol excretion in pregnant women."

In the journal, Fertility and Sterility, Vol. 34, No. 1, pp. 64-65, July 1980, there is a discussion of young men who "were examined for testicular varicoceles. . . . The incidence of testicular varicoceles in each of the two samples was significantly greater in the smokers than in the nonsmokers."

The Medical Journal of Australia, pp. 616-617, 24 Mar 1973, indicates that "It is known that carbon monoxide is a potent inhibitor of microsomal cytochrome-P450. . . . Our results indicate that heavy cigarette smoking decreases plasma testosterone. . . ."

Sexual Medicine Today 4(10): 10-11, Oct 1980, indicates, "Recent research links smoking and infertility due to lower sperm count, decreased motility and changes in sperm morphology." Dr. Alton Ochsner is quoted, "'smoking is one of the most frequent causes of impotence.'" "Said Bowman Gray's Dr. Lloyd. 'You have to breathe and eat to survive, but you don't have to have sex. When the individual is under any kind of organic pressure, the least important functions will go first.'" Cf. data from the 1650's, "tobacco smoking . . . produces . . . impotence."

The article, "Sperm Abnormalities and Cigarette Smoking," by H. J. Evans, J. Pletcher, M. Torrance, and T. B. Hargreave, in The Lancet, pp. 627-629, 21 March 1981, provides insight on the harm from smoking behavior. The article discusses a study of "morphological abnormality. The smokers were found to have a significantly greater percentage of abnormal forms." At 629, "Our results show that cigarette smokers have a higher frequency of morphologically abnormal sperm than non-smokers . . . There is some evidence that the frequency of chromosome damage in the peripheral-blood lyrophocytes of cigarette smokers is a function of the number and type of cigarettes smoked per day, more damage being observed in heavy smokers and in those smoking unfiltered high-tar cigarettes."

The article cites some of the previous data on the subject. At 627, for example, "In 1969 Viczian reported an increase in the number of morphologically abnormal sperm in cigarette smokers compared with non-smokers."
At 628, "Viczian reported that . . . the overall frequency of morphologically abnormal sperm was higher . . . the incidence of abnormal sperm appeared to correlate with the number of cigarettes smoked per day."

At 629, "Since the publication of Viczian's findings heavy cigarette smokers have been shown to have a higher frequency of chromosome abnormalities and sister-chromatid exchanges in their peripheral-blood lymphocytes than non-smokers. It has also been demonstrated that the urine of cigarette smokers, but not healthy non-smokers or non-inhaling smokers, contains substances that are mutagenic . . .

"Taken together, these findings point strongly to the conclusion that cigarette smoking may be a mutagenic pastime. . . . the present study confirms and extends previous work indicating higher frequency of morphologically abnormal sperm in the ejaculates of cigarette smokers than non-smokers and, in the light of our current knowledge of some of the causes of sperm abnormalities . . . it seems probable that this increase may reflect an increase in genetic damage in these cells as a consequence of exposure to cigarette-smoke products."

That study is particularly insightful in the context presented by the article, "Effects of Smoking upon Reproduction," by R. T. Ravenholt, M. J. Levinski. D. J. Nellist, and M. Takenaga, in Am. J. Obst. & Gynec., Vol. 96(2), pp. 26?-281, 15 September 1966. The article discusses
"measuring harmful effects of smoking upon somatic cells not directly exposed to smoke. . . . The spectrum of damage in bodies of cigarette smokers . . . clearly indicates that damage to somatic cells is not limited to those of the respiratory tract, but extends throughout the body—notably including vascular, glandular, and urinary systems . . . This distribution of somatic cell disease in bodies of cigarette smokers indicates absorption of harmful agents from the respiratory tract, their circulation in the blood, and their excretion, mainly in the urine. . . .

"The general category of agents most likely to cause the spectrum of disease observed would be mutagens . . . Many carcinogenic agents, some of which are probably mutagenic, have been identified in tobacco smoke, and Polonium 210 . . . a powerful contact mutagen, has been identified in . . . cigarette smokers. . . . Transport of such mutagenic agents . . . would necessarily occur via the bloodstream; and the germ cells as well as the somatic cells would inescapably be exposed to any blood-borne mutagens."

"Here we are looking at male germline mutations, which are mutations in the DNA of sperm. If inherited, these mutations persist as irreversible changes in the genetic composition of off-spring." said Carole Yauk, Ph.D., in "Cigarette smoke alters DNA in sperm, genetic damage could pass to offspring," American Association for Cancer Research (1 June 2007). "We have known that mothers who smoke can harm their fetuses, and here we show evidence that fathers can potentially damage offspring long before they may even meet their future mate."

Medical data shows "an independent and dose-response relation between cigarette smoking and risk of erectile dysfunction," say "Cigarette Smoking and Erectile Dysfunction among Chinese Men without Clinical Vascular Disease," by Jiang He, Kristi Reynolds, Jing Chen, Chung-Shiuan Chen, Xigui Wu, Xiufang Duan, Robert Reynolds, Lydia A. Bazzano, Paul K. Whelton, and Dongfeng Gu, in American Journal of Epidemiology (10 July 2007). The data found a 41-percent greater risk of erectile dysfunction among smokers. The data shows "a statistically significant dose-response relation between cigarette smoking and risk of erectile dysfunction." This would mean 11.8 million cases in one country alone. ("Erectile dysfunction is the consistent inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance.")

Evidence from 19 studies shows impotence disproportionately among male smokers, 40% of impotent men were smokers, vs only 28% of men overall. 40% of impotence is among the 29% of the population that are smokers; the remaining 60% is among the 71% so-called "non-smokers."--32 Preventive Medicine (#6) (1 June 2001).

See also "Smoking & Reproductive Life: The Impact of Smoking on Sexual, Reproductive & Child Health," by the Board of Science and Education (February 2004). Smoking reduces conception success by 40%, and in England, a small country, "makes 120,000 men impotent."

The father of British Queen Elizabeth II was King George VI. In the pre-viagra era, he was impotent from smoking, so had her, and sister Margaret, by "artificial insemination." He later died from a smoking-caused heart attack. See Kitty Kelley, The Royals (New York: Warner Books, 1997), pp 23-24, 85-86, and 98. (The previous dynasty, the Stuarts, had ended due to smoking-caused infant mortality and deaths).

Tobacco also affects nonsmokers adversely. Bear in mind the following fact: "It has rightly been observed that, if a 'non-smoker' is strictly construed as one who has never had any contact with tobacco-smoke, non-smokers in any . . . urban society are virtually non-existent. Not only, in such societies, is practically everyone exposed to passive inhalation of tobacco smoke, but a very considerable number of 'non-smokers' have once tried . . . smoking before renouncing the practice."—Paul S. Larson, Ph.D., H. B. Haag, M.D., and Herbert Silvette, Ph.D., "Measurement of Tobacco Smoking," 88 Medical Times (#4) 417-429, at p 425 (April 1960).

See also
  • our sites on birth defects and abortion,

  • The Cigarette As A Physician Sees It, by Daniel H. Kress, M.D. (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Pub Ass'n, 1931), pages 32-36, with several sections devoted to this subject and background, and

  • Tobaccoism or How Tobacco Kills, by Dr. John H. Kellogg (Battle Creek, Michigan: The Modern Medicine Publishing Co, 1922), pp 104-106.

Re DNA damage, one study alleges a possible countermeasure, "Sex every day is prescription for improving sperm quality" (The Times [England], 16 October 2007).


Copyright © 2000, 2007 The Crime Prevention Group