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Smoking's 'shocking' effect on reproductive health

Smoking has a profound effect on all aspects of reproductive life in men and women and on the health of babies and children, says a BMA report.

New hard-hitting figures showed the habit had far-reaching effects on fertility and pregnancy.

Dr Vivienne Nathanson, the BMA's head of science and ethics, stressed that 'men and women who might one day want children should bin cigarettes' (see box).

The 'sheer scale of damage' to reproductive health caused by smoking was 'shocking', she said.

The BMA said Government targets to reduce smoking rates should be more ambitious and more should be done to protect people from second-hand smoke – especially pregnant women.

More than seven out of 10 UK smokers would like to quit but many struggled, it said.

BMA smoking statistics

l120,000 men aged 30-50 are impotent because of smoking

lSmoking causes 1,200 cases of cervical cancer annually

lSmoking causes 3,000-5,000 miscarriages every year

lMen and women who smoke may reduce their chance of successful fertility treatment

lLikelihood of conception is reduced by 40 per cent every cycle in women who smoke

lWomen who smoke during pregnancy are three times more likely to have a low birth-weight baby

lOnly 4 in 10 pregnant women reported receiving advice from a healthcare professional about stopping smoking

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