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Quit smoking for a better sex life - study

Published:Wednesday | May 22, 2013 | 12:00 AM

A recent study is revealing that nicotine in cigarettes is detrimental to the male sexual organ. However, once men gave up smoking, they saw significant improvement in their sexual ability.

According to a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in the United States, there is a link between smoking and decreased sex drive. The study has shown that nicotine is the biggest reason for damaging veins, arteries, and blood vessels, including in the male sexual organ.

The findings noted that acute vasospasm, contraction of the penile tissue and restricted blood flow to the penis are all the side effects of smoking. Cigarette smoking was also shown to lead to male infertility by reducing the quality of semen.

"This has been well known for years and, in fact, has been part of the message we have been disseminating about the dangers of smoking. In fact, warnings of the effects of smoking on a man's sexual ability are now being put on cigarette boxes," Dr Knox Hagley, chairman of the Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control, told The Gleaner.

Importantly, however, the British Journal of Urology International reported that researchers found that 31 per cent of the 65 sexually active male smokers who participated in the study had successfully stopped smoking by the end. Compared with men who relapsed, those who remained nicotine-free had wider, firmer erections and reached maximal arousal five times faster.


The findings noted that 20 per cent of the participants reported having erectile dysfunction (ED) at the start of the study. By the end, 75 per cent of the men who had quit smoking no longer suffered erectile problems. But 61 per cent of men with ED who had not stopped smoking also saw improvement in their condition. The difference between the two groups was not statistically significant, however, researchers said.

The participants were enrolled in an eight-week quit programme, which involved using nicotine patches and counselling, and were brought in for erectile testing three times before the quit date, halfway through the programme, then again one month after the programme's conclusion.

Noting that cigarette smoking killed several persons every year, Hagley said he was heartened that there was now more public awareness about the dangers of smoking.