Research shows that men smoke more than women. Cigarette smoking data reveals that 13 out of every 100 adult men smoke, while only 10 in every 100 adult women do. There are various reasons why men engage in this habit, including pleasure, stress relief, and as a form of socializing in certain situations.
While one might be aware that smoking can lead to chronic conditions such as stroke and lung cancer, it also affects males’ reproductive health. This poses a problem for male smokers, especially those who plan to have children. If you’re interested in knowing more about smoking’s impact and some ways to quit the habit, keep reading below:
What Will I Learn
Smoking’s Impact on Male Reproductive Health
Erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence, affects many men. The causes of erectile dysfunction range from lifestyle factors, such as stress and anxiety, to bad habits—including smoking. The chemicals and tar from tobacco smoke damage the lining of the blood vessels, preventing proper blood flow to the penis. This affects men’s sex lives, mainly those who want to start a family.
Decreased sperm concentration
The number of sperm in a particular quantity of semen is called sperm concentration. Cigarettes contain the heavy metals cadmium and lead, significantly lowering the number of sperm in semen. Thus, men looking to have a child with their partner will have difficulty doing so.
Reduced sperm motility
Sperm motility refers to the sperm’s swimming capabilities—an essential factor in conception. The chemical carcinogens in cigarettes, like benzene, aldehydes, and ethylene oxide, affect sperm quality, including their shape and ability to swim. As such, smokers’ sperm may be slow swimmers, unable to reach the egg for fertilization.
How to Quit Smoking to Prevent Further Reproductive Complications
Undergo nicotine replacement therapy
Nicotine replacement therapy is when a person uses nicotine products instead of cigarettes. This helps gradually reduce their tobacco intake as they quit the habit. Some products often used in this procedure are nicotine pouches and patches.
Nicotine pouches are kept in the mouth for nicotine release and disposed of after some minutes. Some of the best nicotine pouches include the Juice Head Peach Pineapple Mint in 12mg doses and the Bridge Citrus in 10mg. Their unique yet enticing flavors encourage users to choose them instead of cigarettes, while their doses provide sufficient nicotine for a certain period. Meanwhile, nicotine patches stick to the skin for nicotine absorption. The top nicotine patches in the market today are from the major brands Novartis and Johnson & Johnson. The Habitrol and Nicotrol patches can be worn for 24 hours, allowing for convenience and a gradual dose of nicotine throughout the day.
Taking smoking cessation medication
Smoking cessation medicines interfere with the brain’s receptors. It can either prevent a person from feeling pleasure when smoking or reduce their withdrawal symptoms. Two FDA-approved smoking cessation medicines are Varenicline and Bupropion.
Varenicline is a pill taken twice a day and functions by lessening the smokers’ pleasure when using cigarettes. On the other hand, Bupropion is an antidepressant, although it’s also used for smoking cessation. It’s a tablet taken depending on a person’s prescription. It reduces smoking withdrawal symptoms for more successful cessation. While these medicines are effective, they can also lead to side effects like nausea, insomnia, and drowsiness. Given these, users should be cautious when taking these medications. If one is currently taking other drugs, such as for erectile dysfunction, it’s best to consult a physician first to ensure that it’s safe.
The consequences of smoking on male reproductive health bring many issues, including erectile dysfunction. Quit the habit today for optimal health and better reproductive function.