Thinking Smoking is Sexy? Think Again.

There are over 80 carcinogens in a single cigarette, and 90% of lung cancer cases in the world are due to smoking. But if that’s not enough to scare you into quitting, how’s sexual dysfunction sound?

In a review article published recently in Sexual Medicine Reviews, investigators examined multiple human studies, animal studies, case series, and cross-sectional and cohort studies that analyzed the relation between smoking or nicotine and erectile dysfunction (ED). They found substantial evidence that cigarette smoking is a risk factor for ED. And the more you smoke and the longer you smoke, the more likely it is that you will develop ED. The authors say smoking contributes to ED in different ways, especially by causing penile vasospasm and increased sympathetic nervous system tone. Also they report smoking cessation can lead to recovery of erectile function, but only if limited lifetime smoking exposure exists.

But women smokers shouldn’t think their love life is safe. A 2015 study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology Science examined the relationship between smoking and sexual dysfunction in pre-menopausal, sexually active women. They found that in current smokers, the frequency of female sexual dysfunction (FSD) was significantly higher than in never/former smokers, and this difference of FSD remained significant after adjustment for confounding variables. And just like in men, the more you smoke and the longer you smoke, the more likely you are to develop FSD.

Sources: Biebel MG, Burnett AL, Sadeghi-Nejad H. Male sexual function and smoking. Sex Med Rev. 2016;4(4):366-375; Choi J, Shin DW, Lee S, et al. Dose-response relationship between cigarette smoking and female sexual dysfunction. Obstet Gynecol Sci. 2015;58(4):302–308.

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