Electronic Cigarettes and Fecundability: Results From a Prospective Preconception Cohort Study

Am J Epidemiol. 2021 Feb 1;190(3):353-361. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwaa067.


Although electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) aerosol contains similar toxicants to combustible cigarettes, few studies have examined their influence on fecundability. We assessed the association between e-cigarette use and fecundability, overall and according to combustible cigarette smoking history, in a cohort of 4,586 North American women (aged 21-45 years) enrolled during 2017-2020 in Pregnancy Study Online, a Web-based prospective preconception study. Women reported current and former e-cigarette use on baseline and follow-up questionnaires, and they completed bimonthly follow-up questionnaires until self-reported pregnancy or censoring. Fecundability ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated using proportional probabilities models, controlling for potential confounders. Overall, 17% of women had ever used e-cigarettes and 4% were current users. Compared with never use of e-cigarettes, current e-cigarette use was associated with slightly lower fecundability (fecundability ratio = 0.84, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.67, 1.06). Compared with current nonusers of e-cigarettes and combustible cigarettes, fecundability ratios were 0.83 (95% CI: 0.54, 1.29) for current dual users of e-cigarettes and combustible cigarettes, 0.91 (95% CI: 0.70, 1.18) for current e-cigarette users who were nonsmokers of combustible cigarettes, and 1.01 (95% CI: 0.85, 1.20) for nonusers of e-cigarettes who were current smokers of combustible cigarettes. Current e-cigarette use was associated with slightly reduced fecundability, but estimates of its independent and joint associations with combustible cigarette smoking were inconsistent and imprecise.

Keywords: combustible cigarettes; electronic cigarettes; fecundability; preconception cohort; time to pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Fertility*
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Mental Health
  • North America / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Time-to-Pregnancy
  • Vaping / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult