Research Indicates An Embarrassing Reason Smokers Should Switch To Vaping
One of the biggest battles over vaping is concerns about the short and long-term effects. Given how new vaping is, it’s somewhat understandable that so many people had a hard time understanding that e-cigarettes are incredible harm reduction and smoking cessation tools. As such, it’s widespread for the vaping community to be fighting back against misinformation and misguided policy. Luckily the fight is getting easier all the time, thanks to the growing pile of evidence in favor of vaping.
That being said, we still have a long way to go before this battle is over. In spite of the peer-reviewed evidence to the contrary, many people are still under that false assumption that vaping and smoking are similar in risk. So while nothing can fix this perception problem overnight, new research could help move the needle in a big way. A study published last week indicates that males whose fathers smoked are much more likely to have lower sperm counts.
The New Study
This new study was conducted by a team of researchers from Lund University in Malmo, Sweden. Led by Dr. Jonatan Axelsson, the team wanted to develop a better understanding of how fathers smoking affects pregnancy. There is a mountain of information on maternal smoking, but very little on if a father’s smoking is having any adverse effects. To help answer this question, they gathered a pool of 104, 17-20-year-old Swedish men to be part of the study. They began by grouping participants by their father’s smoking habits, before analyzing the sperm samples provided. They were looking for things such as semen volume, total sperm count, sperm concentration, as well as morphology and mortality of the sperm.
After analyzing all of their data, they began to notice some very surprising and exciting patterns. They first adjusted for the amount of maternal cotinine, giving us comparable figures. The team concluded that those who had smoking fathers had a 41% lower sperm concentration along with a 51% decrease in total sperm count. This level of a result was very unexpected and indicates that much more research into this topic is necessary.
How Vaping Fits In
While this particular study was only concerned with smoking, research in the future should expand to include vaping fathers as well as smoking fathers. In the meantime, we have strong reason to believe vaping is much safer. In addition to the 2015 report from England’s Public Health Agency, PHE, which concluded vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking, we also now know that the lifetime excess cancer risk of a smoker is around 57,000 times higher than a demographically similar vaper.
Smoking has been shown to have very negative effects on DNA, so it’s possible this reduced sperm production is due to damaged DNA in the male gametes. Ultimately this question needs more research before we can say anything for sure. But something we already have substantial evidence for is the fact that smoking and vaping have very different effects on the body. In fact, a study published last year concluded the air quality of vaping households is nearly indistinguishable from non-smoking households. Meanwhile, smoking homes were shown to have significantly reduced air-quality after only a couple of days.
The public perception of vaping remains woefully low. Polls have shown that only around 13% of adults seem to understand that vaping is much safer than smoking. What’s worse is that about twice as many think that vaping is just as, if not more dangerous. This is one of the biggest hurdles still facing the acceptance of vaping, but more studies like these should help hammer home the fact that vaping and smoking are very different and need to be treated as such. The longer that vaping is still equated with smoking, in regulation, rhetoric, and perception, it will remain challenging to utilize their harm reduction and smoking cessation benefits. Hopefully, this will ultimately be another fantastic reason for smokers to make the jump to smoking. It’s not just the mother who needs to stop smoking for the health of babies; dads have to do their part as well.
Are you surprised that paternal smoking seems to affect sperm count in offspring so much? Do you think this research will improve the public perception of vaping? What’s the best way to spread more positive information about vaping? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.