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In mice, granddaughters of “smokers” have reduced fertility

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The connection with cigarette smoking and decreased female fertility has long been established and a growing body of evidence suggests that smoking during pregnancy decreases the fertility of daughters.

A new study shows that grandmaternal smoke exposure reduces female fertility in mice, the largest effect being seen from smoke exposure to the great-grandmother. The authors state “Our results demonstrate that grandmaternal cigarette smoke exposure reduces female fertility in mice, highlighting the clinical need to promote cessation of cigarette smoking in pregnant women.”


Although it is a really interesting study, in my opinion, we should be skeptical, as:

  1. The female mice were exposed nasally to cigarette smoke (they were not actually smoking!) throughout pregnancy and lactation. This does not resemble the case in humans, where the vast majority of women smokers stop smoking during pregnancy and lactation.
  2. It is debatable if mice are a good model for human diseases (for example mice with cystic fibrosis mutations do not develop the disease).


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