SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • sexual arousal;
  • erectile dysfunction;
  • smoking;
  • cessation

Study Type – Prevention (case series)

Level of Evidence 4

What's known on the subject? and What does the study add?

Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease and death, and – among other medical sequelae – is associated with elevated rates of erectile dysfunction. This is the first study that shows that quitting smoking enhances both physiological and self-reported indices of sexual health in long-term male smokers. It is hoped that these results may serve as a novel means to motivate men to quit smoking.

OBJECTIVE

  • • 
    To provide the first empirical investigation of the association between smoking cessation and indices of physiological and subjective sexual health in men.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS

  • • 
    Male smokers, irrespective of erectile dysfunction status, who were motivated to stop smoking (‘quitters’), were enrolled in an 8-week smoking cessation programme involving a nicotine transdermal patch treatment and adjunctive counselling.
  • • 
    Participants were assessed at baseline (while smoking regularly), at mid-treatment (while using a high-dose nicotine transdermal patch), and at a 4-week post-cessation follow-up.
  • • 
    Physiological (circumferential change via penile plethysmography) and subjective sexual arousal indices (continuous self-report), as well as self-reported sexual functioning were assessed at each visit.

RESULTS

  • • 
    Intent-to-treat analyses indicated that, at follow-up, successful quitters (n= 20), compared with those who relapsed (n= 45), showed enhanced erectile tumescence responses, and faster onset to reach maximum subjective sexual arousal.
  • • 
    Although successful quitters displayed across-session enhancements in sexual function, they did not show a differential improvement compared with unsuccessful quitters.

CONCLUSIONS

  • • 
    Smoking cessation significantly enhances both physiological and self-reported indices of sexual health in long-term male smokers, irrespective of baseline erectile impairment.
  • • 
    It is hoped that these results may serve as a novel means to motivate men to stop smoking.