Smoking and Secondhand Smoke Can Lead to Infertility and Early Menopause

February 12, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. exposure / ɪkˈspoʊ ʒər / (n.) – the state of experiencing or being affected by something
ExampleExposure to dust makes her sneeze.

2. actively / ˈæk tɪv li / (adv.) – involving effort and enthusiasm
Example: Students actively participate in the yearly health activities in school.

3. frequently / ˈfri kwənt li / (adv.) – many times or often
Example: He frequently visits his doctor for checkup.

4. caution / ˈkɔ ʃən / (v.) – to give a warning
Example: The doctor cautioned the patient that eating fatty food could cause heart disease.

5. underlie / ˌʌn dərˈlaɪ / (v.) – to be the reason for something
Example: The factors that underlie the fast spread of the virus are still unknown.


Read the text below.
Secondhand smoke has been linked with lung-related diseases, but a recent study shows that it also has negative effects specific to women.

According to researchers from New York's Roswell Park Cancer Institute, smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke can cause infertility and early menopause in women. Lead researcher Andrew Hyland [HAY-luh nd] expressed that their recent investigation is one of the few studies touching on the relationship between secondhand smoke and fertility and menopause issues.

Hyland and his team based their findings on 88,732 women in the US between 1993 and 1998. At the beginning of the study, the participants were asked to answer questionnaires that revealed that 15% of them were infertile and about 45% of them had early menopause.

Women who actively smoked in the past had a 14% chance of being infertile and 26% chance of entering menopause under the age of 50, researchers say. Moreover, participants who never smoked but were frequently exposed to secondhand smoke had an 18% chance of being infertile and entering menopause earlier than age 50.

While a link has been found, Hyland cautioned that the study cannot prove that smoking is the sole cause of these outcomes. The research findings cannot also suggest what underlies the relationship between smoke exposure and infertility and early menopause.

Nevertheless, Dr. Jani Jensen, an expert from Mayo Clinic, is optimistic that this new finding could motivate more people, particularly women, to quit smoking.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Would you discourage women to smoke after reading this article? Why or why not?
·         Should the government already do something about this issue? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         In your opinion, should cigarettes be totally banned? Why or why not?
·         How do you think a heavy smoker can stop or control his/her smoking habits? Explain your answer.

February 12, 2016