Boys who smoke at certain age risk passing on damaged genes to their children

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A collaboration between the universities of Southampton, UK, and Bergen, Norway, put forward the eye-opening hypothesis.

Dr Negusse Kitaba, a research fellow at the University of Southampton, said “stem cells are being established” during puberty, before the age of 15.

During this time, the established stem cells “will make sperm for the rest of their lives”.

Examining 875 people aged between seven and 50, and the smoking behaviour of their fathers, they found that smoking before the age of 15 could cause generational health issues.

Smoking increased the chances of their children developing asthma, obesity and lung problems, the scientists said.

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These findings were “much more pronounced” in children whose fathers started smoking during puberty, compared to those who started smoking at any time before conception.

Dr Kitaba said: “It’s deeply worrying that teenagers today, especially teenage boys, are now being exposed to very high levels of nicotine through vaping.

“We can’t definitely be sure vaping will have similar effects across generations, but we shouldn’t wait a couple of generations to prove what impact teenage vaping might have.”

Tobacco and make fertility

Dr Cesar Diaz-Garcia cautioned: “For men in particular, the connection between tobacco and infertility is hard to ignore.

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“Tobacco smoking is one of the major factors leading to male infertility.”

Smoking is linked to low sperm counts, poor sperm motility (the capability for the sperm to swim) and sub-optimum sperm quality.

Dr Diaz-Garcia noted: “Male smokers can expect an average 23 percent decrease in sperm concentration.

“Heavy smokers, those who indulge in 20 or more every day, will see their fertility suffer the most.”

Dr Diaz-Garcia said male smokers have an increased risk of fertilisation issues and miscarriage.

In addition to fertility issues, smoking is well-known to increase the risk of disease.

For help to stop smoking, support services are available at pharmacies and from your GP.

Call the free Smokefree National Helpline on 0300 123 1044.

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