Sex may permeate our popular culture, but conversations about it are still associated with stigma and shame in Indian homes. As a result, most people facing sexual health issues or trying to find information about sex often resort to unverified online sources or follow unscientific advice from their friends.

To combat widespread sex misinformation, News18.com publishes this weekly sex column, “Let’s Talk Sex”. We hope to start conversations about sex through this column and address sexual health issues with scientific insight and nuance.

The column is authored by sexologist Prof (Dr) Saransh Jain. In today’s column, Dr. Jain explains the impact of tobacco use and smoking on your sexual health and fertility.

It is practically impossible not to be aware that the use of tobacco or the act of smoking is bad for our health. It increases the risks of lung cancer, chronic lung disease, heart disease and others that accompany lung cancer. But would you be more likely to quit if you learned that it could also affect your abilities in the bedroom?

Smoking is a common habit among men in both urban and rural areas of India. The last few decades have also seen a significant increase in the number of female smokers. We all know that smoking adds a significant financial burden on finances, health, and relationships. It is recognized as the most important preventable cause of ill health and disease.

“Remember that the best way to ruin your health is to smoke.”

Cigarettes contain multiple ingredients and about thousands of chemicals when burned which are known to cause cancer. A lot of research has also shown the link between smoking cigarettes and serious health problems. The impact that smoking can have on a person’s sexual function is perhaps less well known.

Here are the ways smoking could impact your sexual health.

DYSERECTION

Blood circulation is greatly affected by your smoking habits. It is a potential cause of several critical health issues such as heart disease, strokes, and heart attacks. Therefore, ED is not an exception here.

Erectile dysfunction is a major sexual problem in men that occurs due to inadequate blood flow in the male genitalia. The penis cannot grow or stay erect for long due to difficulty in filling blood. Smoking damages the vascular system which is crucial in the process of facilitating erections. Erections require good blood flow to the penis, so men who smoke are more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction because smoking damages blood vessels and prevents them from working as well as they should.

LIBIDO DECREASE

Tobacco has a direct impact on testosterone levels in both men and women. It is becoming a major cause of low libido in men. Smoking cigarettes increases carbon monoxide levels in the body, which inhibits testosterone production, ultimately leading to low libido. As a result, average ejaculation times for smokers are much lower than for non-smokers.

INFERTILITY

Smoking is linked to fertility issues in several ways. Those who smoke are more likely to experience infertility than non-smokers. This fact applies to both men and women. Men who smoke have lower sperm counts, slow-moving sperm, and abnormalities in sperm form and function. In women, smoking hastens egg loss and hastens infertility. Cigarette smoke also interferes with the ability of ovarian cells to make estrogen and leads to more eggs with genetic abnormalities. The DNA of the egg and sperm is damaged because of tobacco. Apart from men who experience fertility problems, women who are addicted to tobacco are less likely to conceive due to the damage caused by tobacco products. Nicotine, carbon monoxide and cyanide are the causes of egg loss.

It can be said that gaining or maintaining erections is not the only problem imposed by tobacco. These problems can be cured, but they cannot solve your infertility problems.

REDUCED PHYSICAL ENDURANCE

Because smoking hastens the decline in lung function, many smokers become out of breath more quickly and have less endurance for physical tasks. It could also impact their stamina during sex. Additionally, physical changes such as stained teeth and bad breath can be unappealing to potential romantic partners.

PENIS SHRINKAGE

Smoking causes the penis to shrink over time. As mentioned earlier, smoking impairs blood circulation in many parts of the body. It becomes difficult to achieve spontaneous erections or nocturnal erections that keep the penis stretched and maintain its good health. Such changes may not be seen over time, but when they do, you’ve gone too far.

INCREASES THE RISK OF CERTAIN SEXUAL DISEASES

Many diseases such as sexual infections or Peyronie’s disease, an abnormality of the penis, can be activated or aggravated by tobacco. Researchers have also found a link between tobacco exposure and sexually transmitted human papillomavirus. This virus is widely thought to increase the risk of mouth and throat cancer.

WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?

Smoking is dangerous for health. It’s more than a saying. Tobacco has serious effects on the sexual health of both men and women. In addition to degrading the average life expectancy, this has an impact on the overall health of an individual.

However, if you cannot quit smoking, you already know the negative effects it can bring to your peaceful life. This becomes one of the main reasons for complicating relationships. Quitting smoking can bring about positive changes and can also get your life back on track.

If you need help or advice to quit smoking, contact a trusted advisor or healthcare professional.

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