How Does Smoking Affect Your Sexual And Physical Health?
According to latest statistics reported by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 17 of 100 individuals (over the age of 18 years) smokes regularly in the United States. This corresponds to 40 million adults or 16.8% of the entire US population.
It has been statistically proven by a number of clinical and research studies that nicotine smoking is a leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality. For example, statistics indicates that about 16 million Americans are currently living with a smoking-related chronic illness and each year over 480,000 Americans succumb to smoking-related complications and diseases.
Nicotine smoking exposes the smoker to hundreds and thousands of chemicals, carcinogens and irritants. These compounds can lead to a wide variety of complications; such as:
- Impotency: According to a new study, the risk of developing erectile dysfunction and impotency is 60% higher in males who smokes more than 20 cigarettes per day. The pathophysiology revolves around atherosclerosis (or damage to blood vessels) as a result of vascular inflammation in response to irritants (2).
- Negative changes in libido and sex drive: Smokers are more likely to develop lung infections and respiratory dysfunction due to chronic inflammation and high exposure to irritants. Consequently, the lung functions also suffer a great deal. Needless to say that all such factors play a major role in deteriorating libido, sexual stamina and drive to engage in sexual activities.
- Damage to smooth muscles: The negative changes in circulation and persistent ongoing inflammation in cigarette smokers can damage the smooth muscle cells of penis and may lead to the deterioration of erectile function. In extreme cases, some men may also experience an actual shortening in the size of penis due to permanent damage to smooth muscle cells.
According to a new study reported in the Human Reproduction journal (3), investigators suggested that chronic active smoking is very frequently associated with lower ejaculate volume and lesser number of viable and high quality sperms. These negative changes can also aggravate the risk of infertility in men.
How Does Smoking Affects Your Physical Health And Quality Of Life?
Following are the physical effects of tobacco smoking:
- Premature signs of aging: Smoking can lead to the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles along with drooping of skin. This is mainly because cigarette smoke and chemicals cross-reacts with naturally occurring enzymes and proteins (such as collagen and elastin) which causes cellular damage and ultimately translates into premature signs of aging. Moreover, smoking also slows down the process of healing i.e. rejuvenation.
- Sun damage to skin: Skin damage due to exposure to sunlight and UV radiations is more intense in smokers as compared to non-smokers; as evidenced by retrospective studies conducted in twins (4).
- Complexion changes: Cigarettes are loaded with nicotine and other hazardous chemicals. The breakdown products of nicotine interacts with cellular proteins and enzymes which leads to changes in the skin complexion such as, pale skin, discoloration or unevenness of skin tone and formation of pigmented lesions. The unevenness in skin tone occurs due to high levels of carbon monoxide in the blood.
- Smoker’s pucker: Continuous and excessive use of facial muscles during smoking leads to formation of wrinkles and aging lines around the oral cavity. This characteristic appearance is known as smoker’s pucker. Compromised rejuvenation and continuous cellular damage may worsen this condition.
- Oral hygiene issues: Smoking affects the aesthetic look of a person as the smoke particles tends to deposits on the teeth and gums; causing blackish coloration and unaesthetic appearance along with bad breath, plaque, tartar and other oral health issues.
- Staining of nails and skin: Continuously holding cigarette between the fingers for long periods of time causes thickening of skin along with staining of fingers and nails.
- Hair loss: Smokers also face hair thinning problem which can ultimately lead to alopecia or baldness.
- Visual changes: Smokers tend to develop visual problems such as cataracts and visual defects. Furthermore, smokers frequently squint eyes to prevent smoke from entering into their eyes. The excessive use of ocular muscles can lead to the formation of wrinkling around the eyes (also known as Crow’s feet).
Speak to a healthcare professional if you want to learn more about the hazardous complications of smoking. You can also get benefitted from a number of smoking aid medications and devices.
2. Cao, S., Yin, X., Wang, Y., Zhou, H., Song, F., & Lu, Z. (2013). Smoking and risk of erectile dysfunction: systematic review of observational studies with meta-analysis. PLoS One, 8(4), e60443.
3. Lotti, F., Corona, G., Vitale, P., Maseroli, E., Rossi, M., Fino, M. G., & Maggi, M. (2015). Current smoking is associated with lower seminal vesicles and ejaculate volume, despite higher testosterone levels, in male subjects of infertile couples. Human Reproduction, deu347.
4. Okada, H. C., Alleyne, B., Varghai, K., Kinder, K., & Guyuron, B. (2013). Facial changes caused by smoking: a comparison between smoking and nonsmoking identical twins. Plastic and reconstructive surgery, 132(5), 1085-1092.