Association between smoking cessation and sexual health in men

BJU Int. 2012 Mar;109(6):888-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2011.10503.x. Epub 2011 Aug 23.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adult
  • Arousal*
  • Counseling
  • Erectile Dysfunction / epidemiology
  • Erectile Dysfunction / etiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Penile Erection*
  • Plethysmography
  • Self Report
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / therapy*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Tobacco Use Cessation Devices
  • Treatment Outcome