The health consequences or adverse effects of cigarette smoking and the use of tobacco products are well known. These are among the major cause of rampant mortality and morbidity in the developed countries and the prevalence is actually increasing in the developing world. Despite the public knowledge on the adverse reproductive effects of smoking, many people still indulge in smoking, even to the tone of getting addicted to tobacco smoking.
A major component of cigarette is Nicotine. Nicotine consumption is in different forms, which ranges from smokeless tobacco products such as snuff and chewing tobacco to the more common form: smoked tobacco. Cigarette tobacco contains several substances.
Nicotine and other constituents or components of the cigarette smoke cause different hormonal imbalances and have negative effects on the pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal glands; testes, egg cells; and their function.
Furthermore, nicotine inhibits spermatogenesis and causes decreased steroidogenesis in men. In males also, the effects of smoking on androgen is important, given the recent interest in the association between low androgen levels, the metabolic syndrome and coronary heart disease as revealed in the study conducted by Jones et al. 2001. Other adverse effects of smoking are premature ejaculation and reduced penile erection; however, these depend on individual sensitivity or susceptibility as confirmed by Jones et al., 2003.
In women, it significantly affects the probability of successful pregnancy in healthy women, not just in assisted reproduction cases. Women addicted to smoking have high chance of having adverse effects on reproductive ability, pregnancy-related difficulties. It also causes menstrual irregularities, pregnancy complications, and decreased fertility in women. It has been reported that smoking can destroy the human embryo and fetus throughout the entire perinatal development , after delivery, during breastfeeding, and throughout the life of the baby. Cigarette smoking has also been shown to have anti-estrogenic effects in women as reported by Aydos, 2001. The consequences of its effect are complications in pregnancy, premature birth, reduced birth weight, and increased perinatal mortality (Bancroft and Stevens, 2002).
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