We all know that smoking can increase the risk a range of major diseases, including cancers, heart disease and stroke. However, there are other health implications associated with lighting up that are less well known. Sexual functioning requires the coordination of several functions in the body. This includes the nervous system (mental stimulation) working in coordination with hormones, and the vascular system which pumps blood into the muscle tissue that maintains the erection. Smoking can affect all these systems, thereby, causing impotence.
Many diseases caused by smoking involve blockage of the arteries, meaning that smoking inhibits the flow of blood throughout the body. Strokes and heart attacks are one result of severe blood flow blockage. Impotence is another result of arterial blockage.
Impotence and Smoking
Impotence, or erectile dysfunction, is twice more likely to occur in smokers than non-smokers. Exposure to second-hand smoke is a significant factor in becoming impotent. Impotence is the constant inability of a man to maintain an erection for sexual purposes.
Increases your risk of erectile dysfunction
One little known effect of cigarettes is their ability to get in the way of people’s sex lives. Smoking can increase the risk of erectile dysfunction (ED) in men. This is because it can damage blood vessels, including those that must dilate if a man is to have an erection. When they enter your body, the toxins in cigarettes can make your blood thicker and they can narrow your arteries.
In turn, this can prevent you from getting and sustaining an erection. Of course, there are now treatments on offer for ED. However, when ED is caused by smoking, it’s better to tackle the cause rather than the effect by trying to quit the habit.
Reduces your fertility
Lighting up can reduce fertility. In men, it can damage sperm and reduce sperm count. Meanwhile, studies have found that female smokers are over three times more likely than non-smokers to have taken more than one year to conceive. If you smoke, now could be the time to quit. Bear in mind that these are just some of the ways in which cigarettes can impact on your health.
Affects your ability to smell and taste
Everyone knows that smoking can make you smell bad. From bitter breath to a whiffy wardrobe, cigarettes certainly make their mark. However, what you may not realise is that this habit can also affect your ability to smell and taste. Smokers tend to experience a dulling of these senses, meaning they can’t enjoy foods and aromas as intensely as they did before. This is because the hot fumes emitted by cigarettes are toxic to the senses.
Makes you look older
Another point to bear in mind is that smoking can cause you to age more quickly. It reduces the amount of oxygen that gets to your skin, meaning your complexion may start to look grey and dull. It also speeds up facial wrinkling, especially around the eyes and mouth. Lighting up can even lead to an increase in cellulite, and then of course there are the stained teeth and fingers to think about.
Increases your risk of infection
As well as the long term dangers of smoking, this habit can increase your risk of suffering infections such as colds, flu and pneumonia. Although many people aren’t aware of this fact, smokers are increasing their chances of contracting viral and bacterial infections.
This is partly because smoke paralyses the cilia. These protective hairs that line the respiratory tract are there to protect us from infections. They do this by catching bacteria and viruses and pushing them back up the airways, allowing us to cough them out or swallow them. Smoking damages this protective mechanism.
What You Can Do
It is possible to fully or partially recover erectile function by just quitting smoking. The problem in recovery is the degree of damage that has been inflicted, and the identification of which system has been affected. The greater the length of time spent smoking, the greater the damage to the biological systems that cause impotence. Men who have reported losing their erections before orgasm have completely reversed this situation by quitting smoking.