Further Information

Lack of association between smoking and DNA fragmentation in the spermatozoa of normal men | M. Sergerie, S. Ouhilal, F. Bissonette, J. Rodeur, G. Bleau
Article Published: 2000

Type: Experimental and Technical
Significance: No Risk Change

Published By: Human Reproduction, vol. 15, no. 6, pp. 1314-1321, 2000

Further Information

“Since men who smoke directly inhale a host of toxic substances which can be absorbed such as nicotine, carbon monoxide, benzo(a)pyrene, mutagenic pyrolisis-derived compounds and cadmium, a causal relationship is highly suspected

[ … ]

“This suggests that smoking could have a subtle impact on male reproduction that is not apparent in the usual parameters of semen analysis. It was therefore of critical importance to confirm this result in a population of normal men in whom the effect could have been more apparent.”

It is clear that this Canadian piece of research did not proceed from the ideological postulation that smoking is harmful anytime, anywhere, anyhow, but it set out to establish whether smoking is dangerous for reproduction, as antismoking propaganda does not miss any opportunity to mislead the public by inferring hundreds of diseases to cigarettes, in a spectacular display of  “shotgun approach”: if you don’t get scared by this, you will get scared by that.

The “toxics,” “poisons,” or “chemicals” in tobacco smoke are mentioned daily to condition both behaviour and beliefs of people, and scare them into the decision to quit. What is not said is that those “poisons” are present in insufficient quantities to cause harm, and this study confirmed once again the fundamental rule of toxicology: “It’s the dose that makes the poison”.

Even without any study, the fact that smoking does not harm reproduction should be intuitive just by observing that the population explosion of the baby boomers occurred when smoking was at its absolute peak, between 1945 and 1960. Quite simply, if smoking would have harmed reproduction, the population explosion either would not have been there, or a large number of defective children would have been produced, which was not the case; quite the opposite, in fact, was true.

“The male contribution to this defect is far from evident because a number of investigations including ours failed to find a correlation between smoking and semen parameters.


“In conclusion, we found no evidence for an association between smoking and sperm DNA fragmentation in healthy volunteers.”

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