The Marlboro Man is meant to be the epitome of masculinity -- handsome, aloof and strong enough to make any woman feel dainty. And yet there's one department in the sexiness factor where's he's seriously lacking: he could be bad in bed.
A recent U.S. study has found men who've quit smoking have better overall sexual health than men who continue to light up. By monitoring 65 men enrolled in a stop-smoking program over eight weeks, researchers from the VA Boston Healthcare system discovered the 20 men who successfully kicked the habit had greater penile growth and more easily climaxed than those who continued to smoke. Sexual health measurements were taken by having the men watch a racy film in a lab.
Obviously, this isn't the only reason you need to quit smoking. According to the National Cancer Institute, quitting smoking by the age of 50 can reduce your chance of dying before your time by about 50 per cent. And the earlier you stop, the better -- people who quit smoking before they're 30 have a 90 per cent reduced risk.
That's one of the reasons this study was done in the first place. "This really does apply to all men who smoke or not. [The goal of the research was] just getting the word out that men could be aware of this finding, so it could influence their decisions to start the quitting process," study author Chris Harte told Reuters Health.
Quitting smoking is no easy task, as millions of ex-quitters can attest to. But you're not alone -- there are plenty of free resources to help you kick the habit. Health Canada operates the Quit 4 Life program and the Canadian Lung Association provides lots of free advice on giving up cigarettes.
The findings of this study also back up previous research, which found long-term smokers were twice as likely to be impotent as non-smokers. "The take-home point is even men who don't have a clinical diagnosis of (erectile dysfunction)... may still benefit from quitting smoking," Harte says.