A new study found that men vaping any and all forms of e-cigarettes may end up seeing a lower sperm count and shrunken testicles over time.

Turkish scientists took readings of testicle size in male rats and recorded biomarkers of stress in the blood and genitals prior to exposing the animals to cigarette smoke and e-cigarette vapors.

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The impact of the smoke resulted in the rats’ sperm count lowering to 95.1 sperm per milliliter, compared to 98.5 million per milliliter from the group that was not exposed to any nicotine substances.

“It should be considered that although [e-cigarette] liquid has been introduced as harmless in smoking cessation studies, it could increase oxidative stress and cause morphological changes in the testicle,” researchers from Revista Internacional de Andrología wrote in a published report this month.

The fallacy that vaping is a safer alternative to smoking has impacted the younger generation of Americans, with the number of teenagers picking up the habit increasing at alarming rates. An estimated 12 million adults use e-cigarettes while millions more children and teens have been added to the vaping population, despite age restrictions. “The results of this study show changes in testicular histopathology, spermiogram, and oxidative stress parameters of rats exposed to cigarette and easy smoke,” the researchers continued.

Some of the rats who were exposed to either cigarette or e-cigarette smoke had what was described by the study authors as “disorganized seminiferous tubules.” Seminiferous tubules are tube-shaped structures in the testicles that are responsible for the production of sperm. Having these tubes compromised can negatively affect sperm production and quality.

The authors added: “Therefore, it should be considered that although ECU liquid has been introduced as armless and smoking cessation studies, it could increase oxidative stress and cause morphological changes in the testicle. “To be a safe option in smoking cessation studies, its effect on people needs to be enlightened,” they concluded.

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