Does Vaping Affect Fertility?

/ 4 min read

Does Vaping Affect Fertility?

The long term health risks of vaping are still considered an unknown. Despite an increasing body of evidence in favour of vaping in terms of tobacco harm reduction and cessation, a general lack of long-term data makes drawing medical conclusions difficult bordering on impossible.

The reason for this lack of data is partially because of vaping’s relatively short time in the spotlight comparative to smoking. It is also down to the fact that while not entirely useless, what few studies exist are often not representative of real world vape use.

While experts are attempting to draw conclusion and studies continue, many people are left with various questions about how safe vaping really is, and whether or not they should consider it as an alternative to smoking.

Reduced sexual health has been linked to smoking in the past, as stated by the NHS, and there are many people wondering if vaping has the same impact. We have recently explored an FAQ, “can vaping make my boobs smaller? which you can also have a look into, as well as exploring any potential links between vaping and cancer.

Here however we will explore the information available regarding vaping and fertility.

Vaping devices

Vaping, Smoking, & Fertility

According to our sources (see list beneath article), vaping can affect fertility much in the same way that smoking can. The main reason given for this is the nicotine content present in both vapes and cigarettes. Despite being found by Public Health England (PHE) to be 95% less harmful than smoking, vaping is not risk free, and nicotine is a big part of that.

While smoking generally delivers more harmful chemicals vs vaping, the effect of nicotine by itself appears to have profound effects on fertility.

In one study, nicotine appeared to prevent sperm from performing properly, reducing fertility rates. The NHS also supports this, recommending stopping smoking to improve your chances of becoming a father, noting that male smokers have lower sperm counts overall.

The NHS goes on to tell us that:

“For women, smoking can reduce fertility levels and are over three time more likely than non-smokers to have taken more than one year to conceive. A study estimated that the fertility of smoking women was 72% less than that of non-smokers.”

OC Fertility, a specialist fertility clinic in California, states that “those considering in vitro fertilisation should reconsider using any kind of nicotine delivery system or product”.

Couple waiting for fertility test

Will stopping Vaping Increase My Fertility?

Objectively the answer is yes, stopping smoking or vaping will reduce the risk of infertility. While the minimal evidence does suggest this, placing nicotine as the biggest contributor, we are still facing a similar issue found when exploring other health questions in relation to vaping; we do not have enough specialised evidence to see the big picture.

The above statement is the same as saying ‘stopping smoking or vaping will help you breath better’, it’s a little obvious as we know that inhaling anything other than air is always going to have a detrimental effect on some level.

The same applies here, we are not supposed to consume nicotine, it’s a human vice, therefore by not consuming it we are less likely to incur any penalty such as illness or addiction.

An issue that has been raised about other studies where people attempt to draw conclusions about vaping, is that in almost every case, a vaper acting as the subject of a trial is going to be an ex-smoker. While they exist, there is only a small fraction of the vaping community that didn’t transition from tobacco.

This is an issue because when trying to isolate the long-term impacts of vaping on things like cancer or fertility, it is very difficult to know if a person is expressing a symptom because of the fact they vape, or because they used to smoke.

There is no simple solution to this problem either, as we do not advocate the use of vapes by anyone who is not using them for tobacco harm reduction. Yet, without a sample of people who have only ever vaped exclusively, that level of clarity may continue to elude us.

Leave It to The Experts

Because of the lack of clarity in the evidence specific to vaping, the best option for anyone worried about how nicotine could be impacting fertility will always be to consult your GP, or fertility clinician.

They are experts in the field and are also likely to understand your personal medical needs which can massively impact how you proceed. Anyone reporting on the effects of vaping, be they good or bad, is not working with definite evidence.

Our Sources: