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Impotence linked to cigarette smoking

IRVINE, CALIFORNIA. Impotence (erectile dysfunction) is a growing problem in the United States. Heart disease, hypertension, and arthritis are common causes as are the use of cardiac and antihypertensive medications. Psychological and neurological dysfunction can also play a role. The evidence concerning the role of cigarette smoking has been somewhat less clear. On the one hand, the tobacco industry portrays smoking as a virile thing to do (the Marlboro Man); on the other hand, foes of smoking portray it as a vile habit that, apart from causing cancer and heart disease, can also result in impotence. What is the truth?

A group of researchers from the University of California has just completed a major study that answers this question. The researchers reviewed 19 comprehensive research articles dealing with the question of smoking and impotence involving a total of 3819 impotent men with an average age of 51 years. They found that 40.1 per cent of them smoked. This compares to an average smoking prevalence in the general male population of 27.7 per cent. The researchers conclude that the anti-tobacco advertisements featuring impotence as a reason to avoid smoking are well grounded in scientific fact.
Tengs, Tammy O. and Osgood, Nathaniel D. The link between smoking and impotence: two decades of evidence. Preventive Medicine, Vol. 32, June 2001, pp. 447-52

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