bad news for smokers

More bad news for smokers

More bad news for smokers

Smoking is bad for you in so many ways. It causes heart disease, lung cancer, skin wrinkles and emphysema. It also makes you smell, keep you addicted, and uses up all your money. But that actually is more bad news for smokers.

New research shows that smoking can prematurely age a man's sperm. It has long been known that older women have a greater risk of having children with birth defects. Apparently this also applies to men. The older the father, the more likely it is that his children will not be healthy.

The risk seems to be associated with epigenetic tags on the of the father's DNA. These DNA tags determine how active the genes are. The tags are altered by age, and diet, and now it appears, also by smoking. In fact, the correlation is so clear that scientists can now very accurately predict a man's age by examining these DNA tags. Scientists got a surprise when they matched their estimated age from the tags to the actual age of the man donating the sperm. They found that smoker's sperm showed much older tags than their actual age. The conclusion is that smoking ages your sperm prematurely.

Pregnant women should stop smoking

This is a worrying development. Older men have an increased chance of fathering children with autism and schizophrenia. It is not known if there is a connection between smoking and this, but the possibility is there. 

Pregnant women are routinely advised to stop smoking when they get pregnant. This research suggests that men who want to have children should also stop smoking. Particularly if they are older men to start with.

There is some good news. Sperm is produced fresh throughout a man's life. Therefore there is a chance that if the prospective father stops smoking he may be able to reverse some of the damage.


David Mason

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