American researchers have identified a link between women who are active and passive smokers with infertility problems and early menopause.
While previous research has linked smoking with higher rates of infertility and earlier menopause, Andrew Hyland, Chair of Health Behaviour at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, New York and study author, cited “second-hand smoke is less researched, especially among never-smoking women.”
Roswell Park Cancer Institute researchers conducted a study involving 93,676 American post-menopausal women aged between 50 to 79, to determine the link between infertility and passive smoking. The women were selected as part of the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study performed between 1993 to 1998, involving three clinical trials and an observational study designed to address major health issues causing morbidity and mortality in post-menopausal women.
Participants were divided into two groups; those who smoked and those who never smoked and various factors, including smoking, life-time fertility status and age at natural menopause were monitored.
Those who smoked, or used to smoke, were asked how many cigarettes they smoked or had smoked each day, the age at which they started smoking, and the length of time they smoked. The non-smoker cohort were asked whether they had lived with a smoker or worked in a smoking environment.
Study results revealed tobacco exposure through both active and passive smoking can hasten the natural menopause (commencing before 50 years of age), and cause fertility problems.
Compared with never smokers, current or former smokers were 14 percent more likely to be infertile and 26 percent more likely to have early menopause (before 50 years of age).
Women who had the highest level of tobacco exposure, and began smoking before the age of 15, experienced the onset of menopause nearly 22 months earlier than the non-smoking participants. Women who smoked more than 25 cigarettes a day experienced menopause 18 months earlier than the norm.Non-smokers were more likely to experience menopause 13 months early if they have lived with a smoker for more than 10 years, worked with colleagues who smoked, or 20 years or more of living with a partner who smoked in the house environment. These women were 18 per cent more likely to have experienced infertility problems than those who had never been exposed to passive smoking.
Non-smokers were more likely to experience menopause 13 months early if they have lived with a smoker for more than 10 years, worked with colleagues who smoked, or 20 years or more of living with a partner who smoked in the house environment. These women were 18 per cent more likely to have experienced infertility problems than those who had never been exposed to passive smoking.