Secondhand smoke may reduce women's fertility

Smoking has long been known to affect the fertility of both men and women, but new research suggests that even passive smoking may increase the need for infertility treatment.

Scientists analysed more than 4,800 non-smoking women and found that those who had been exposed to secondhand smoke for six or more hours a day as children and adults faced a 68 per cent higher risk of fertility problems or a miscarriage compared with those who had been protected from cigarette smoke.

The findings, which were published in the journal Tobacco Control by a team at the University of Rochester Medical Centre, show the long-lasting effects of passive smoking.

"These statistics are breathtaking and certainly point to yet another danger of secondhand smoke exposure," said Dr Luke Peppone, research assistant professor at Rochester's James P Wilmot Cancer Centre.

Estimates suggest that at least one fifth of couples of reproductive age are affected by infertility.

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