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New research says vaping can shrink your sperm count and testicles

The latest study exploring the long-term physiological effects of vaping has uncovered some troubling news for men. Here’s what you need to know.

There’s a very short list of things worse than breathing in someone else’s exhale of strawberry vapour while you’re waiting for the bus at 8 AM. 

‘It’s not as bad as cigarette smoke,’ they all say, cradling their highlighted little vices like an asthmatic holding ventolin. To that, I heartily disagree. 

But, as much as I disapprove, it seems like a huge (and growing) proportion of people just can’t seem to leave the house without their trusty vape. And while yes, in some ways the impact of vaping on our health is far more manageable than smoking, new research surfaces every day pointing to plenty of reasons why we should be avoiding the colourful e-cigarettes.

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While the latest report is particularly eye-opening for men, we should all take note of the findings, representing significant potential side effects of the blueberry-flavoured pens.

Breaking down the study

Collating global health data, the study found roughly 30 percent of men aged 15 and under are considered to have an addiction to smoking, with the rate only increasing to 45 percent in men of reproductive age. While decades of research into the detrimental health effects of tobacco have linked the dangerous addiction to cancer, cardiovascular disease, and fertility issues, the long-term physiological impacts of vaping are largely unknown.

With vaping still being a relatively new craze, most of the research currently being conducted into the health effects isn’t quite in the human-testing stage yet. Hence the latest findings actually reflect the physiological changes experienced by rats exposed to vaping. 

The recently published study was designed to demonstrate the effect of both cigarette and e-cigarette smoke on the male urogenital system, exposing male rats to both.

Regularly measuring factors such as testicular weights, sperm count, urine cotinine levels, and gonadosomatic index against the control group, researchers compared the results to determine the full scope of effect. 

The troubling findings

The experiment clearly outlined several risks associated with vaping in regard to the male urogenital system. Most notably, researchers attributed many of the negative physiological changes to oxidative stress, which causes intracellular molecule damage or cell death. 

The rats exposed to vaping experienced morphological changes, most notably a decrease in their sperm count and testicular weight, while the control group or rodents maintained their regular data readings. 

“The results of this study showed changes in testicular histopathology, spermiogram, and oxidative stress parameters of rats exposed to cigarette and EC smoke,” the study authors write.

“Therefore, it should be considered that although EC liquid has been introduced as harmless in smoking cessation studies, it could increase oxidative stress and cause morphological changes in the testicle.”

The troubling findings of this study call for further research on the health effects of vaping, potentially venturing into similar research involving human subjects.

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