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Research: Vaping potentially lowers men’s sperm count and shrinks testicles

I’ve heard many young adults refer to vaping as the cool kid version of smoking, but essentially it’s still smoking. Only that with vapes, the packaging is the only thing that makes it look less harmful. 

An electronic cigarette, or vape, is a device that mimics tobacco smoking and consists of an atomizer, battery, and liquid container. Rather than tobacco, they inhale and exhale vapour. Vaping is often referred to as using an e-cigarette.

Smoking tobacco in the long run has very negative effects on the smoker’s health, and these are things we were educated on ever since we can remember. But unlike smoking tobacco, vaping seemingly has extra side effects that a recent study has brought to the public’s attention. 

Vaping or e-cigarette use has been linked to shrinking testicles, lower sperm counts, and a reduced sex drive, according to a new study out of Turkey.

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The study, published in the Spanish-language journal Revista Internacional de Andrología, found the aerosol produced from e-cigarette products can have negative effects on male reproduction.

Conducted on male rats, researchers tested the effect of vaping and conventional cigarettes while tracking the amount of sperm produced, the appearance of their testicles, and stress markers in blood and genitals to find that both forms of inhalation are bad for male sexual health.

Conventional cigarettes, which have long been associated with male fertility problems, were even worse than vaping.

“It should be considered that although [e-cigarette] liquid has been introduced as harmless in smoking cessation studies, it could increase oxidative stress and cause morphological changes in the testicle,” researchers wrote. “To be a safe option in smoking cessation studies, its effect on people needs to be enlightened.”

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Rats exposed to e-cigarette vapor had a sperm potency of 95.1 million sperm per milliliter, and rats exposed to conventional cigarette smoke had 89 million sperm per milliliter. The control group, which was not exposed to either, had 98.5 million per milliliter.

Researchers found that about 62% of rats in the vaping group had negative physical impacts on the testicles when looking at factors such as structural changes, sperm production, cell death, and tissue atrophy.

The Turkish study also confirmed part of a prior Danish study from 2020, which found that daily use of e-cigarettes among men is tied to lower sperm counts. However, the authors of the Turkish study acknowledge that more research on humans must be done.

Vaping is a growing trend, especially among young people. 

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