Smokers beware! If you want to set things alight in the bedroom, you need to stub out the cigarettes. Studies have revealed that smoking can lead to erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence, which is the inability to get or maintain an erection.
So what is the basic science behind it? Cigarettes contain a toxic mix of chemicals that damage the blood vessels in the body, making it much harder for blood to flow through them. An erection occurs when blood rushes to the penis, so any obstruction will make it harder to get an erection, right?
The connection between smoking and impotence has always been a hot topic of discussion. In the past, some have claimed that the link is tenuous. Warnings about the dangers of smoking have always focussed on serious conditions such as cancer and heart disease instead.
But if recent studies are anything to go by, cigarette packets should also carry warnings alluding to bedroom failures. One study, which involved participants with ED, revealed that 40% were smokers, whereas the proportion of smokers in the general population is 20%. Furthermore, research also suggests that men who quit their smoking habit are more likely to overcome ED.
So what does this mean? One key conclusion to be drawn is that ED is as much of a health risk from cigarettes as some of the other well-publicised conditions. It's possible that warnings of sexual dysfunction would hold more sway with the younger generation of smokers than some of the more traditional cautions.
This new approach to targeting the young where it matters most could be just what is needed to further reduce smoking rates among 20-30 years olds. The more relevant we make smoking advice, the better the end result will be.
So next time you light a cigarette, think about the possibility of what it could do to your sex life. Its not really worth the risk, is it?
For help on quitting smoking visit our information page.