Can’t get it up? Forget Viagra and quit smoking instead!



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Thursday 23 March 2006

ASH news release: Embargo: 00:01 Thursday 23 March 2006
Men who smoke a pack or more of cigarettes daily are nearly 40 per cent more likely to be impotent than non-smokers, new research published today has shown. Even smoking fewer than 20 a day can affect a man’s sex life [1].

The research team in Sydney analysed questionnaire responses of over 8000 men aged between 16 and 59 who were taking part in the Australian Study of Health and Relationships.

Almost one in 10 of the men (9.1%) said that they had had erectile problems lasting a month or more during the preceding year.

Applied to the UK, the study suggests that almost 700,000 British men aged between 30 and 50 years suffer from impotence. [2]

More than a quarter of the respondents were smokers, one in five of whom smoked 20 or fewer cigarettes a day. Just over 6% smoked 20 or more a day.

The results pointed to a significant association between smoking and erectile problems, which became stronger with increasing numbers of cigarettes smoked.

When compared with non-smokers, those who smoked 20 or fewer cigarettes a day were 24 per cent more likely to report difficulties maintaining an erection. Those smoking more than a pack a day were 39 per cent more likely to report erectile difficulties.

Unsurprisingly, older age and a diagnosis of cardiovascular disease were also associated with a greater likelihood of erectile problems.

Chris Millett from the Department of Primary Care & Social Medicine, Imperial College, London who conducted the research in Australia, said:

“Even smoking fewer than 20 cigarettes a day increased the risk of erectile dysfunction by 24 per cent. “

“Around one in three British men aged 20-34 years are smokers [3]. Whereas lung cancer and cardiovascular disease can feel distant, impotence may be a more immediate problem for this group. By highlighting this link between smoking and erectile problems we may be able to motivate these men to quit,” he said.

ASH Director, Deborah Arnott said:

“For decades cigarettes were marketed as a symbol of virility, as in the macho Marlboro Man ads. Yet the reality is that smoking is a primary cause of impotence which may also be an early indicator of coronary heart disease.”

“The good news is that quitting smoking greatly reduces the risk of circulatory problems such as impotence.   Young men who want to avoid the embarrassment and distress of impotence can help themselves by quitting smoking before such problems arise. “

Ends

Notes and links:

[1] Millett, C et al. Smoking and erectile dysfunction: findings from a representative sample of Australian men. Tobacco Control 2006; 15: 136-9

[2] The total figure is 695,745 based on GB male populations of 4,330,490 (30-39 years) and 3,829,759 (40-49 years) with prevalence of ED in these groups of 5.1% and 12.4% respectively.

[3] Smoking rates are highest among men aged 20-34. According to the 2004 General Household Survey, 36% of men aged 20-24 and 35% of men aged 25-34 were smokers. This compares with an overall average of 26% of all adult men (aged 16 and over). General Household Survey 2004-05,  Office for National Statistics, 2005.