Smoking and How It Affects Your Sperm Quality!

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email

Impotence, hormonal imbalances, and dramatically decreased sperm quality are all caused by smoking.


Tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals including a myriad of known carcinogens. The health consequences of smoke exposure are significant and include numerous diseases and dysfunctions of the respiratory tract, increased risk of multiple types of cancer, and increased incidence of cardiovascular disease. But smoking can also have a negative impact on sperm quality. This is worth thinking about if you plan for a family.

The exposure to tobacco smoke has significant negative effects on semen quality. For example, one study showed – in a cross-sectional analysis of 2,542 healthy men over 12 years – that cigarette smokers had lower sperm quality and sperm count compared to men who didn’t smoke [1].

Here is the science of how cigarette smoking affects sperm quality, and in turn, your chances of starting a family.

Sperm volume and seminal fluid

Sperm is made up of seminal plasma, the fluid component of ejaculation, which plays a major role in male fertility. This fluid contains a huge variety of organic and inorganic molecules. This provides both nutrition and protection to sperm cells traveling through the female reproductive tract. The chemicals in tobacco smoke not only lowers the sperm volume, but also decreases the protective seminal fluid components. As a result, the sperm cells get a lower survival chance.

Sperm quality

Several clinical studies have reported that smokers have lower sperm quality compared to non-smokers. In a study including 1,786 men, smoking was associated with a decrease in sperm counts by 17.5% and in total motile sperm cells by 16.6% when compared to non-smokers[2].

Research shows that smoking can lead to male infertility through a decrease in reproductive hormones (FSH and testosterone, amongst others), which are essential for sperm production.

Sperm Motility

A sperm cell’s ability to swim (motility) is highly important for overall sperm quality. The better swimmers, the better the chances of reaching and fertilizing an egg.

Smoking increases Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). ROS are biologically active, oxygen-containing free radicals that have the ability to damage DNA and kill sperm cells. This is called oxidative stress, which you can read more about here. This sperm DNA-damage negatively impacts sperm motility. Therefore, more “bad” swimmers are produced, lowering overall semen quality.

Sperm size and shape

Several studies confirm that men who smoke have fewer well-shaped sperm cells than non-smokers [3].  Smoking affects the shape of sperm cells, resulting in structural abnormalities such as curved tails. Badly-shaped sperm cells aren’t good swimmers and don’t have the best chances of survival when compared to normal looking sperm cells. This leads to decreased ability to fertilize an egg and thereby lower chances of reaching pregnancy.

Sperm DNA

Besides alterations in sperm shape, size, volume, and quality, some studies have looked into sperm DNA in smokers. The men who smoke seem to have increased DNA fragmentation (the separation or breaking of DNA strands into pieces), which may be associated with problems of fertilization and embryo development. Some studies suggest that the DNA fragmentation in the sperm cells even can be transferred to the baby.

Overall, this can also mean that chances of pregnancy are poorer, even with artificial insemination or IVF treatment.

Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction or other sexual impairments can have a huge impact on your ability to make your partner pregnant. Several studies show that smoking associates with a high risk of erectile dysfunction (ED). ED affects around 20% of all men and up to 52% of males aged 40–70 years [4].

The biology behind an erection is that healthy blood vessels dilate and get filled with blood. When you smoke, the lungs absorb toxins from the cigarette smoke. Those toxins cause damage to the vessels in the penis (scientifically; decrease in vessel dilation) and impair blood flow, resulting in ED. Having trouble raising the rifle doesn’t mean that you are producing bad sperm, but if you have ED, you won’t be able to deliver your semen inside the woman you love to get her pregnant.

Parental exposure

There have been several studies that clearly find exposure to cigarettes while in the womb can have an impact on a man’s fertility in the future.

One study of 1,770 men demonstrated that those who had prenatal exposure to smoking had over 20% lower sperm density as adults than those without exposure [5]. Other studies have found lower sperm concentration when making the same comparison.

It’s never too late – there is hope

Not all is lost – the impact of smoking is quite reversible for most men. So, it’s never too late to quit cigarettes and stop damaging your sperm cells! The process of making new sperm cells takes around 70-90 days. This means that you can see an improved sperm quality around 3 months after you stop smoking. However, it may take a little longer if you have been a heavy smoker for a long time.

ExSeed Health not only analyses your sperm but also help you to start your smoke-free and improved life with our lifestyle programs. Make sure to check them out!

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email

8 thoughts on “Smoking and How It Affects Your Sperm Quality!”

  1. Avatar

    I just could not depart your web site before suggesting that I actually enjoyed the standard information a person provide for your visitors? Is gonna be back often in order to check up on new posts

  2. Avatar

    Good day very cool site!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your website and take the feeds I’m satisfied to find so many useful information here in the post, we’d like work out more strategies in this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .

    1. Avatar

      Buenas tardes esta información también influye en el aroma que despide el semen ,porque me he dado cuenta de un cambio en el aroma del mismo ,soy fumador y antes tenía un aroma agradable y de unos meses hacia acá mi semen muestra un aroma a humedad ,les agradecería su respuesta me preocupa eso tambien.

  3. Avatar

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thanks, However I am experiencing difficulties with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I can’t subscribe to it. Is there anybody else getting identical RSS problems? Anyone that knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanx!!

  4. Avatar

    I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was
    great. I don’t know who you are but certainly you’re
    going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

Leave a Comment

More To Explore
heat damaging sperm
Stay cool for fertility!

Is heat damaging your sperm? In humans, sperm production is temperature dependent with normal testicular function requiring a temperature of 2–4°C below the general body

Recent posts

Lifestyle program man

Download your



"5 ways to improve your sperm quality"

Enter Your Email