A study involving 79,000 women has found that women who smoke heavily or habitually are more likely to go through menopause at an earlier age, with results indicating those who started smoking at 15 would go through it on average 21 months earlier than non-smokers. It also found a link with second-hand smoke: those exposed to passive smoke for many years would also go through menopause earlier than non-smokers who were not around tobacco. Early menopause has been linked to earlier death in previous research, although there is also research associating it with lower risk of certain diseases such as breast cancer. The study adds to previous research that shows smoking can be damaging to reproductive health, as researchers believe the toxins in tobacco could be disrupting reproductive hormones such as estrogen. “This is slightly worrying — there is only a slightly increased risk of infertility in smokers compared to never-smokers, but this new study suggests that so-called passive smokers might be similarly affected.” said Professor Ashley Grossman at the University of Oxford. “Maybe more convincing is the nearly two-year earlier menopause in smokers and around one year in passive smokers; this dose-response effect does suggest we are looking at a true phenomenon.” The researchers say their study, along with previous research, shows that “all women need to be protected from active and passive smoke”.
Read the full story at the BBC.