Most people know about the harms caused by smoking, but what some people may not know, is that smoking also affects fertility.

What does smoking do?

With 7,000 chemicals and 69 cancer causing substances in cigarette smoke, the whole body is affected, not just the heart and lungs.

If you’re planning to have a baby, it’s important to know that:

  • smokers take longer to conceive than non-smokers (this applies to both sexes)
  • women who smoke (or who are exposed to passive smoking), are at least 1.5 times more likely than non-smokers, to take more than one year to fall pregnant
  • smoking can damage the quality of the sperm and the DNA in a male’s sperm, affecting the health of the child
  • men who smoke are nearly twice as likely to report erectile problems

Smoking during pregnancy can also contribute to a range of problems. Women who smoke whilst pregnant, increase their:

  • risk of pregnancy complications, low birth weight, and birth defects
  • chance of experiencing a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy

So what can you do?

If you’re planning to have a baby, it is important to quit as soon as possible to improve the chances of having a healthy baby.

Stopping smoking can improve natural fertility and some of the effects of smoking can be reversed within a year of quitting.

If you’re pregnant or planning to be, the ‘Quit for you – Quit for two’ app provides support and encouragement to help you give up smoking.

If you both smoke, quitting together is a great way to support each other, as well as increase your fertility and chances of having a healthy baby.

In our previous posts, we’ve also highlighted some quitting tips which are practical and useful.

A new public education campaign

Your Fertility in collaboration with Quit Victoria have launched a new campaign highlighting the effects of smoking on fertility, as well as how it impacts a couple’s chance of having a healthy baby.

As part of this campaign, a new interactive online tool has been developed that is evidence-based, and outlines the benefits of quitting – from preconception, pregnancy, to birth and beyond.

Your Fertility’s website also has fun animations, videos and an interactive ovulation calculator to help increase your chances. It gives the facts you need to make informed and timely decisions about your reproductive health…

For further information, visit or join the #QuitForFertility conversation.

We hope you enjoyed this post and until next time, wish you all great health and wellbeing!

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Scollo, MM & Winstanley, MH (2015). Tobacco in Australia: Facts and issues. Melbourne: Cancer Council Victoria.