According to the CDC1, Smoking causes more deaths each year than all of the following things combined:
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Illegal drug use
- Alcohol use
- Motor vehicle injuries
- Firearm-related incidents
Smoking is a hard habit to break. But if the health hazards haven’t persuaded you to go cold turkey, this one fact just might: Smoking can hit you below the belt.
When it comes to the bedroom, lightning up might not be so hot. Numerous studies2 have linked smoking to erectile dysfunction. Smoking restricts blood flow in your veins and arteries, and proper blood flow is essential for erectile function. If you smoke, you are at greater risk of developing this condition.
If you are considering having a family, smoking might keep you from that goal. One study3 compared semen from smokers to semen of non-smokers and found that smokers suffered from the following complications:
- low testosterone
- low sperm motility
- impaired sperm fertilizing capacity
According to one study done in Canada4, smoking was shown to increase the risk of testicular cancer. The researchers stated that “smoking to any degree was suggestive of an increased risk.” They additionally noted that there was “no association with age of initiation and no reduction of risk with smoking cessation.” So what does that mean for you? If you have ever smoked, at any age, for any length of time, you have increased your risk of testicular cancer. Even if you have stopped smoking, you have permanently elevated your risk. And the longer you smoke (the higher your pack-year ratio), the more you increase your risk.
So the next time you consider taking a smoking break, think instead of taking a break from smoking. If you won’t do it for your lungs, do it for the family jewels.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014). Health effects of cigarette smoking. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/
2. Gades, N. M., Nehra, A., Jacobson, D. J., McGree, M. E., Girman, C. J., Rhodes, T. . . . & Jacobsen, S. J. (2005). Association between Smoking and Erectile Dysfunction: A Population-based Study. Americal Journal of Epidemiology, 161(4), 346–351. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwi052
3. Sofikitis, N., Miyagawa, I., Dimitriadis, D., Zavos, P., Sikka, S., & Hellstrom, W. (1995). Effects of smoking on testicular function, semen quality and sperm fertilizing capacity. Journal of Urology, 154(3), 1030–4. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7637048
4. Srivastava, A & Kreiger, N. (2004). Cigarette smoking and testicular cancer. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, 13; 49–54. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-03-0133