- Smoking and
non-smoking forms of tobacco have adverse effects on women’s reproductive
- It can lead to
infertility and miscarriage.
- Quitting tobacco
can reduce low birth weight, preterm birth, and premature breakage of the
Tobacco claims the lives of about 9,81,100 people every
year in India, yet more than
1,20,00,0000 adults and 25,42,000
children continue to use tobacco in various forms every day.
Even with all the awareness campaigns sweeping the country, the people have
been turning deaf ears to the messages.
cutting-edge article, Dr. Duru Shah exposed the harmful
effects of tobacco on women’s reproductive health. She had also explained
the dangers of exposures to tobacco during pregnancy. Below is our in-depth
interview with Dr.Duru Shah on tobacco and women’s reproductive health.
‘Smoking can have a huge impact on women’s reproductive health. It is one of the factors that cause infertility and contributes to increased miscarriage rates or still births. – Dr Duru Shah, Gynecologist
Shah is the Scientific Director of Gynaecworld and the Gynaecworld Assisted
Fertility Center, Mumbai, India and is a Consultant to the Breach Candy Hospital,
Jaslok Hospital and Sir Hurkisondas Hospital in Mumbai, where she leads a
highly qualified team of Consultants who specialize in assisted reproductive
technologies, freezing of embryos, eggs, sperm, semen analysis, egg donation,
surrogacy and embryo donation.
has served as the President of the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological
Societies of India (FOGSI), and is currently the Senior Vice President of the Indian Society of Assisted Reproduction.
does a husband’s habitual consumption of tobacco (smoking and non-smoking
forms) affect the wife’s reproductive health?
Ans. We have
enough evidence that shows that tobacco exposure both smoking and non-smoking
forms have an adverse effect on women’s reproductive health.
Second-hand exposure can
endanger the health of the mother and the baby. It can result in premature
aging of her eggs; smoking can also affect the hormone production and cause
inflammatory changes in the fallopian tube.
Men with long-term
tobacco exposure can have erectile dysfunction, and damaged
DNA in their sperm
indirectly affecting a woman’s reproductive function.
are the maternal health effects of smoking on women smokers?
Ans. Smoking can
be one of the factors causing infertility. Smoking can also be a contributor
to increased miscarriage rates or still birth. Hence,
affecting the mother both physically and psychologically.
It may also result in
increased chances of a pregnancy that fails to attach to the womb but attaches
to the tube (ectopic pregnancy) instead, which always results in the
fetal death and can be potentially fatal for the mother.
your article, you talked about third-hand smoke, could you tell us more about
the health consequences of third-hand smoke on babies/children?
Ans. Exposure to
second or third-hand smoking can have various adverse effects on the baby. There is an
increased risk of miscarriage, pre-term delivery, and low birth weight babies, still birth in such situation.
Infants that were
exposed to second and third-hand smoking have increased frequency of cold,
cough, wheeze and lung infections. They are also more susceptible to allergies
compared to their non-smoking counter parts.
These children also have
learning difficulty and an altered attention, behavior, and ability to reason
The health consequences
of exposure to smoking does not end in infancy and childhood but continue into
adulthood, making them more prone to cancer and heart diseases.
smoking cessation make a huge difference for women’s health in India?
Ans. Cessation of
smoking definitely has benefits
Immediate Effects include
- Decreased levels
of carbon modioxide in the blood- within 24 hrs.
- Improvement in
small airway function
- Improvement in
related benefits from cessation are
- Decrease in LBW
(low birth weight), preterm birth, premature rupture of membranes
- Decrease in
- Marked reduction
in stroke (3-5 years)
- Improvement in
oral health including cancer
long term effects are decreased risk of
the words of Dr.Duru Shah, “smoking causes
infertility as it harms the eggs in women and sperms in men. Consumption of
smokeless tobacco during pregnancy leads to premature deliveries and also
prevents the babies from growing optimally whilst in the mothers’ wombs”.
Smoking cessation can help avoid low
birth weight, preterm birth, and premature breakage of the amniotic sac, and
contributes to infant and maternal health.