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Smoking leads to impotence and infertility

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Smoking leads to impotence and infertility


ABOUT 120,000 men aged 30 to 50 are impotent because of smoking, doctors said yesterday.

The British Medical Associationís (BMA) Board of Science and Tobacco Control Resource Centre states in a report that smoking damages almost all aspects of sexual, reproductive and child health.

Smoking is implicated in about 1,200 cases of malignant cervical cancer each year and between 3,000 and 5,000 miscarriages in Britain are also linked to smoking.

Women who smoke are also less likely to conceive, with the chances of conception reduced by up to 40 per cent per cycle.

The report, chaired by Sir David Carter, who was previously Scotlandís chief medical officer, also notes that smokers of both sexes may have a poorer response to fertility treatment.

The damaging effects of smoking on sexual reproductive health are seen from puberty, carrying on through young adulthood and into middle age.

Women who smoke during pregnancy are also three times more likely to have a baby with a low birth weight. Low birth weight is closely linked to illness and death in infancy, while smoking during pregnancy also increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and death of the newborn.

The report, Smoking and Reproductive Life - the impact of smoking on sexual, reproductive and child health, also looks at new evidence that smoking may increase the risk of certain foetal malformations, such as cleft lip and palate.

Recent figures have shown that more than a quarter of Scottish mothers are putting the lives of their unborn babies at risk by smoking during pregnancy.

Dr John Garner, the chairman of the BMA Scottish Council said: "This report gives further evidence of the need for effective action on tobacco control from the Scottish Executive.

"Despite the Executiveís Tobacco Action Plan [published last month] stating that smoking during pregnancy is the single largest preventable cause of disease and death to foetus and infants, their target rates to reduce smoking amongst pregnant women remain the same as previously stated."

The Executive aims to reduce the number of women who smoke during pregnancy to 20 per cent by 2010.

A spokesman said: "The Scottish Executive is already well aware of the impact of smoking on sexual health and the unborn child. That is why as far back as 1998, pregnant women were identified as a priority group for smoking cessation services.

"The Tobacco Action Plan announced additional funding of £1 million this year and £1 million next year, rising to an additional £5 million in 2005-6 to expand smoking cessation services."

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