Welcome to the parents section of "smoke's no joke". We aim to arm you with all the information you need to tackle family smoking issues.


Health issues

Smoking, sex and reproduction

Cigarette smoking can affect fertility in both men and women.

A woman who smokes reduces her chances of conceiving by between 10% and 40% per ovulation cycle. Even second-hand smoke can have an adverse effect on conception. In the UK smoking during pregnancy causes up to 5,000 miscarriages, 3,200 premature births and 300 pre-natal deaths every year.

Men who smoke have fewer and poorer quality sperm.

Smoking can cause male sexual impotence also known as penile erectile dysfunction where a man cannot have or maintain an erection. Male smokers aged between 30 and 50 have around a 40% chance of being impotent.

ASH and the British Medical Association estimate that 120,000 men in this age group are impotent as a result of smoking.

Foetal Health

Foetal health and development

As a group, female smokers have an increased chance of complications during pregnancy and labour and a have a higher incidence of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy.

Infant health and development

Mothers who smoke throughout their pregnancy are risking giving birth to a baby who is underdeveloped.

This isn't as simple as saying that the baby may be underweight, as it could also imply developmental issues such as small or weakened vital organs e.g. lungs. Unfortunately, this can also occur with babies born to mothers who are exposed to second-hand smoke during pregnancy.

Smoking, both during and after pregnancy, increases the newborn baby's risk of cot death.

Breast feeding mothers, who smoke, reduce their milk output by a quarter of a litre a day compared to non-smoking mothers.

Asthma and other serious respiratory infections are more prevalent amongst infants whose mothers smoked during their pregnancy.

The British Journal of Psychiatry published a report in 2005 linking the incidence of children born with learning difficulties, Autism spectrum and behavioural disorders to mothers who smoked during pregnancy.

The natural menopause can occur up to two years earlier in smokers.

Older women who smoke and use oral contraceptives have a 20 times higher chance of having a heart attack. In younger women, the benefits of using the pill outweigh any potential risk of heart attack.

For more information please refer to the Second Hand Smoke section

Some of the issues covered here are also raised in the Parents Q&A section

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