How Long for Sperm Health and Male Fertility to Increase After Quitting Smoking Cigarettes? Does Smoking Harm the Fetus? Here's What Research Says in 2021

The Short Answer

Does smoking cigarettes affect male fertility?

Yes. A prominent review and meta-analysis of research on smoking has linked smoking tobacco to several fertility related disorders:
    • Decreased sperm count
    • Decreased sperm motility
    • DNA damage within sperm cells

How long do I have to quit smoking before my sperm is healthy again?

The latest research suggests that it takes 2-3 months for sperm health to return after quitting smoking. This is because while sperm are constantly produced, it takes an individual sperm cell 74 days (2-3 months) to reach full maturity.

Does smoking as a father affect the fetus?

As mentioned above, smoking tobacco can lead to DNA damage within sperm cells. New research suggests that paternal smoking before and during pregnancy can also damage fetal DNA. While there's more research to be done on this topic, the latest research indicates that paternal smoking may lead to birth defects such as congenital heart defects and anencephalus (an underdeveloped brain and incomplete skull).

As you might have expected, smoking tobacco is not only harmful to your lungs, but also many other parts of your body such as your reproductive system. If you are trying to get pregnant, you owe it to yourself, your partner, and your future child to quit. Please contact us if you need help finding resources to help quit.

How Smoking Tobacco Affects Male Fertility

Cigarettes contain toxic levels of cancer-causing substances known as carcinogens. Additionally, smoking tobacco creates mutagenic substances (a chemical that permanently changes genetic material such as DNA). Finally, they contain heavy metals such as chromium, lead, nickel, and cadmium - which have been shown to be responsible for smoking-related sperm damage.


Research shows that smoking can lead to DNA damage within sperm cells. Recent studies have shown evidence that men with high levels of damaged spermatic DNA will have reduced fertility and an increased chance of miscarriage.

Additionally, erectile dysfunction (ED) is exacerbated by smoking tobacco. For obvious reasons, this can make getting pregnant difficult. According to researchers at the Northwestern University Medical School, men that smoke cigarettes are twice as likely to experience moderate to complete ED.

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How Long Do I Need To Quit Smoking Cigarettes Before My Sperm Is Healthy Again?

On average, spermatogenesis takes 74 days. In other words, the creation and development of new sperm cells generally takes a 2-3 months. Therefore, changes in your lifestyle such as quitting smoking will generally take ~3 months to impact your sperm health. After quitting smoking, you will likely want to wait at least 3 months before trying to conceive.

Does Paternal Smoking Harm The Fetus?

Men who smoke may increase the risk of congenital heart defects in their children, according to a study published by the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. This recent study echoes findings from several decades of research that all point to the same conclusion: smoking as a father-to-be can be detrimental to the fetus. 


According to this study, all types of parental smoking were associated with the risk of congenital heart defects, with an increase of 74% for men smoking compared to no smoking exposure. The researchers found that the following congenital heart defects were specifically linked to smoking cigarettes:

  • 27% greater risk of atrial septal defect
  • 43% greater risk of right ventricular outflow tract obstruction

It is undeniable that smoking is harmful for humans on many different levels. To ensure the health of your offspring, please refrain from smoking. As mentioned above, men should aim to quit smoking at least 3 months before trying to conceive.

A Word From VitaliBoost

Quitting smoking sucks! Please contact us if you or someone that you know needs help finding resources to help quit. Good luck!