How does vaping affect your fertility?

Understanding the potential risks associated with vaping.
Written by
Gemma Kaczerepa
Reviewed by
Last updated on
May 16, 2024
min read
Does Vaping Cause Infertility? Unveiling the Truth | Kin Fertility
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While we’re all pretty aware of the health hazards around cigarette smoking, the risks of vaping are still a little unclear — especially when it comes to fertility.

Does vaping make it harder to get pregnant? What about its impact on your developing foetus? If your partner vapes, can it affect his fertility too? And if not vaping, what else can lead to fertility problems?

If you’re planning to get pregnant in the near (or distant) future and are wondering if your vape might be hindering your plans, here’s what you should know about vaping and fertility.

What are the health risks associated with vaping?

Before we get into the risks of using a vape, it’s helpful to understand exactly how vaping works and how it came about.

Vapes, also known as vape pens, e-cigarettes, electronic cigarettes and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), were developed as a replacement for conventional cigarettes, in order to help people quit smoking.

They work by heating up a liquid until it turns into an aerosol which is then inhaled. Unlike cigarettes, which produce cigarette smoke, vapes put out a vapour.

The liquid (often called vape juice or e-juice) is usually flavoured and comprises a bunch of different chemical ingredients (many of which are still unknown) [1]. Most vapes contain nicotine, some contain THC, while some are pure e-liquid.

Even though vaping is considered by many experts to be a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes [1], it’s not without its consequences when it comes to your health.

It’s just as addictive as traditional cigarettes

Because most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, it can be incredibly easy to become hooked on them. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance because it boosts dopamine levels, leading to a brief high [2].

Many turn to nicotine because it makes them feel mentally sharper, but in the long term, nicotine can have effects on cognitive function. It can increase the risk of cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s Disease and memory problems [2].

In young people whose brains are still developing, nicotine can impact their attention span, mood and ability to control their behaviours [3]. Nicotine can also cause a greater risk of cardiovascular, respiratory and gastrointestinal disorders, as well as poorer immunity [4].

It can lead to heart and lung problems

While many of the ingredients in vapes remain unidentified, 3 chemicals commonly found in them are acetaldehyde, acrolein and formaldehyde. These have been linked to heart and lung problems and can cause irreversible damage [3].

There’s also some evidence that vaping can increase your chances of suffering a heart attack, stroke and angina and that even 5 minutes of vaping can cause inflammation in your lungs and alter the way your lungs work [5].

Does vaping cause infertility?

Once again, the link between vaping and fertility hasn’t been fully established. Plus, many of the studies so far have been conducted on animals. However, there’s a growing body of research showing a strong correlation between vaping and reduced fertility.

First up, a 2019 study on mice by the University of North Carolina found that using an e-cigarette before conceiving actually caused a significant delay in implantation. The result of that, the researchers said, is a lag and reduction in fertility [9].

A 2020 review stated that e-cigarettes contain dangerous substances, such as endocrine disruptors, that can impact your hormones and the function of your reproductive organs [10].

There’s also established evidence that nicotine — found in the majority of vapes, as well as cigarettes — can harm your reproductive health, with effects including anovulation (where your ovaries don’t release an egg during your monthly cycle), irregular periods and impaired egg production [4].

And for pregnant women who continue vaping, that same University of North Carolina study also discovered adverse effects on the growing foetus’s long-term health and metabolism [9]. Nicotine can increase the chances of miscarriage, stillbirth, and lower birth weight too [4].

What are other risk factors for fertility?

Fertility can be caused by a bunch of different things — from your age to your overall health, and even other lifestyle factors outside of vaping. 

These are the most common.


Age is hugely related to your fertility because fertility tends to decline as you get older. For example, one study found that you have an 85% chance of conceiving when you’re 20-29, a 66% chance when you’re 35 and a 44% chance when you’re 40.[11]

This is due to the natural decline in your egg supply and egg quality with age. You’re born with all the eggs you’ll ever have, so every time you ovulate, your egg count goes down.

Reproductive system problems

There are multiple health problems that can affect different parts of your reproductive system (your vagina, cervix, fallopian tubes, uterus and ovaries) such as endometriosis, cervical abnormalities, tumours, fibroids, polyps or scarring in the uterus; and inflammation [12][13].

Cancer that affects your reproductive system, as well as treatments like surgery, drugs and radiation, can also impact your fertility [14].

Hormonal issues

Your hormones play a big role in supporting fertility, so it makes sense that issues that affect them can cause trouble conceiving.

These include polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), hyperprolactinemia (where your body produces too much of the milk-making hormone prolactin, thus impacting ovulation), hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism (overactive and underactive thyroid respectively), and Primary Ovary Insufficiency, whereby the ovaries don’t function properly when a woman is under age 40.

Luckily, your hormones (and their impact on your fertility) are one thing you can explore yourself. You can get a fertility test which provides an in-depth assessment of different hormonal risk factors for infertility, including your ovulation cycles, thyroid health, PCOS risk and menopause timing, as well as your egg reserve. 

Whether you’re keen to start trying soon or are still a few years away, fertility testing can offer a comprehensive look at your current fertility and how you should approach your conception journey.

Other health issues

Some health issues can impact fertility, including autoimmune disorders (such as rheumatoid arthritis), obesity and being overweight, being underweight, and STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhoea — both of which can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and lead to reproductive system damage.

Lifestyle factors

Beyond smoking and vaping, other lifestyle factors that can affect fertility include heavy drinking and drug use, overexercising (which can lead to loss of periods), not eating enough and poor nutrition, and stress.

Male fertility risk factors

In men, the reasons behind infertility include [12][14]:

  • Health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, cystic fibrosis, chlamydia, gonorrhoea and HIV, some of which can impact sperm production and mobility
  • Genetic problems like Klinefelter syndrome (where males are born with one or more X chromosomes)
  • Impotence and other erectile problems
  • Depression
  • Environmental factors including pesticides, radiation and regular exposure to high heat
  • Cancer that affects the male reproductive system, as well as treatments

Can vaping affect fertility and sperm health in males?

Absolutely. Once again, the research is still in the fairly early stages and has only been conducted on animals. But, studies have already shown that e-cigarettes — whether or not they contain nicotine — can affect the male reproductive system’s cells, tissues and organs [10].

One 2020 study from Denmark demonstrated that, like smoking, e-cigarette use can actually lower sperm count [15].

An earlier study by University College London discovered that vaping can decrease sperm quality, too, mainly because of the ingredients in the juice.

Bubblegum-flavoured vape juice specifically was found to destroy cells in the testicles, while cinnamon-flavoured vape juice affected sperm motility (the mobility of the test subjects’ sperm) [16].

Want to give yourself and your partner the best possible chance of conceiving? Besides avoiding (or giving up) the vape and quitting smoking, be sure to focus on other lifestyle choices too, including drinking, the foods you eat and how often you're moving your body.

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