Smoking and Erectile Dysfunction No ratings yet.

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With over 1 billion people smoking worldwide it is estimated that one in three adults smoke. The number will probably continue to rise each year. The most prominent health effects of smoking are lung cancer, heart disease and COPD and have been well documented over the last two decades. A male physical difficulty that you wouldn't think had anything to do with smoking has been recognized as well.

There are thirty million men in the U.S. suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED) today and it is expected to double by 2025. Impotence in males can actually be caused by several factors including smoke from cigarettes which damages blood vessels that supply the penis with a flow of blood and help in the sexual erection.

ED becomes more prevalent with age and chronic smoking is a major risk factor. Long term smoking causes detrimental affects on the vascular nerves, structural damage to tissue and this impairs arterial flow to the penis or a spasm to the penile arteries. Whether it is the nicotine or the smoke in cigarettes is still unknown. The stimulation of nicotine in the brain also causes rapid contractions in the penile tissue; this restricts arterial blood flow in the penis and is known as Vesospasm, impacting the ability of the heart to pump blood that is needed to achieve and maintain an erection prolonged smoking also causes arterial sclerosis or hardening of the arteries. This slows the flow of blood to the penis and can prevent a man from achieving an erection at all.

With the heart having to work harder it becomes weaker and less blood reaches the penis which impacts the strength, stamina and frequency of erections.Compared to their non-smoking counterparts smokers as young as thirty to forty years old have between 50-80% increase of erectile dysfunction.

Smoking also causes anxiety which is a major factor for impotency. By ceasing to smoke, you can reduce the anxiety levels and allow your body to rejuvenate and heal itself. This will allow you to have a longer and healthier sex life. Hypnotherapy is something that seems to help with the anxiety.

There are five ways that cigarettes can cause impotence. Carcinogen-laden smoke builds up in the lungs. With a mixture of carbon monoxide and nicotine from a cigarette increasing blood pressure and heart rate this causes strain on the heart and blood vessels. Lack of blood flow causes for weaker erection. Inhaling carbon monoxide deprives the brain, soft tissue and muscles of oxygen which makes your entire body work harder. This makes the erection weaker and even harder to get. Smoking also results in fat deposits in the blood vessels and this constricts the vessels and makes for blood starved reproductive organs.

Taking medication for erectile dysfunction such a Cialis, Viagra or Levetra is not a permanent cure for men who continue to smoke. This may help improve erection but they only cure a symptom and the best permanent cure is to stop smoking.

 

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UK Smoking Ban in Prisons – Unfair or Justified? No ratings yet.

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Earlier this week it was announced that the UK Prison Service is considering introducing a pilot scheme which would ban smoking by inmates in all areas of UK jails. Although sites for the trial scheme have yet to be chosen, it is intended that the pilot could be launched as early as next spring with an outright ban to follow in 2015. Medical organisations have welcomed the news but there are fears that a smoking ban could cause disruption in prisons.

A spokesman for the Prison Officers’ Association voiced concerns about the ban and said he anticipated problems as around 80% of the prison inmate population smoke and many use the habit as a way of coping with life inside. However, smoking has already been banned successfully in young offender institutions in the UK and in prisons in Canada, which is encouraging. There would clearly be health benefits too for non-smoking prisoners and prison staff if prisons became a smoke-free zone. In fact, legal action has been threatened previously by prisoners and staff who have suffered the effects of passive smoking.

Coping mechanism

Stress-related behaviours such as self-harm and anxiety disorders are common among the prison population and smoking tobacco is a way of coping with this. Choosing to smoke is one of the few choices left available for prisoners and many will see a ban as a threat to what little independence they have. Prisoners who smoke are no different from smokers generally in that they can’t just be expected to give up tomorrow without some sort of help and support. Nicotine patches will be provided although that is not thought to be adequate and there are considerable rumblings of discontent to be heard already.

Tobacco is also used as a form of currency among inmates and the removal of cigarettes and tobacco from prisons will effectively put an end to this in-house trading medium.

Objections have been raised on the premise that being at liberty to smoke is a basic human right and some prisoners have threatened legal action if the ban is implemented. Furthermore, it has been pointed out that smoking is already banned in communal areas and a prisoner’s cell is the only place they are actually free to relax with a cigarette if they need one.

Precedent set

The ban was first mooted in 2007 when a general ban on smoking in public places was rolled out across the UK and Ireland. Prisoners were exempt at that time because their cells were classed as “domestic premises” and as such were outside the parameters of the law. Non-smoking prisoners could not be forced to share a cell with a smoker.

Earlier this year, Guernsey and the Isle of Man introduced a blanket smoking in their prisons and this is reported to have gone well so far. Prisoners hoping to quit are provided with patches and access to the Quitline telephone support service. Those who do not wish to give up have been allowed to purchase e-cigarettes.

It is certainly a contentious issue. With prison services stretched to breaking point and tension running high in overcrowded and underfunded prisons, a ban on smoking could prove to be the catalyst which sparks serious unrest and rebellion. On the other hand, it could see many more long term smokers giving up for good. Let’s hope for the latter.

 

 

*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.

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Gateway or Help for Quitters No ratings yet.

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E-cigarettes have helped people to quit who were not successful using other products. But to know if they are a gateway to other tobacco products it will take continued observation. E-cigarettes do deliver tobacco to the lungs and physicians are worried about the affects this may have on adolescent development of the brain. An estimated 160,000 students Read more

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What We Should Fear No ratings yet.

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Terrie Linn McNutt Hall.

Remember the name. It’s a name that will live on for many years to come as the voice for all smokers who have fallen prey to cancer. She died just 8 days ago on September 16, 2013. On her deathbed, the Center for Disease Control took videos of her as she passed. Read more

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E-cigarettes – the low down No ratings yet.

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Stopping smoking is never easy so anything new that aids the process is welcomed with enthusiasm by would-be quitters. The latest quitting tool to hit the market is the e-cigarette; but what exactly are they and how can they help you? Read more

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Multipe Attempts at Stopping Smoking No ratings yet.

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For most people, it takes at least two attempts to stop smoking. And that is bare minimum. There is an attitude that people have when they first try to stop in which they feel it is going to be very easy. The addiction to nicotine is not easy to break and it is not always something that can be stopped in Read more

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Does Quitting Have To Mean Piling On The Pounds? No ratings yet.

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There are so many advantages to quitting smoking, as I am sure no one will dispute, so much to be gained. However, maybe the one disadvantage to quitting, one gain that no one really wants is extra body weight. According to research that is the number one reason why a lot of people are reluctant to quit – they fear piling on the pounds. It's true that smoking does tend to make people slimmer, as the nicotine in it reduces appetite and speeds up the metabolism.  Nicotine increases the metabolic rate to the extent that it can make someone burn up to 200 extra calories per day. However, a recent scientific study has shown that people who continue to smoke usually end up putting on weight over the years anyway, so it is counter-productive to continue!

Since smokers tend to have addictive personalities, there is a chance they may just exchange nicotine addiction for food addiction by quitting smoking. One of the double-edged swords associated with quitting is that the sense of taste and smell are greatly improved for most people, and that can make them crave food more, since they enjoy it more. Studies have shown that many ex-smokers crave sweet and/or fatty foods more once they quit.

One way to combat possible weight gain is to mentally prepare yourself for it, and take preventative action, like starting a new exercise regime, and watching what you eat once you are no longer smoking. Drink more water, be aware of what snacks you eat and try to avoid the fattening ones. Also, be very careful of how much alcohol you are drinking, since for many, this is a trigger to smoke.  It is also high in “empty calories” and can really pile on pounds, as it can also give you food cravings. So either give up drinking, or limit the amount of alcohol you drink, to reduce the chance of a smoking relapse.

 

 

*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.

Even if you do put on a little weight as a result of quitting, it is surely preferable to continuing to smoke. Being slightly overweight is far less injurious to the health, and definitely less unattractive than smelling of smoke,  bad breath, yellowed fingers and teeth, etc.!  Not to mention premature wrinkles from smoking.

I hope you enjoyed this blog and I appreciate your votes and comments.

 

 

 

Picture courtesy of www.news.smashpipe.com

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It Pays To Quit No ratings yet.

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There was a nice post a few days ago by Eve York which touched on the financial benefits of not smoking. It prompted me to sit down with a pen, paper and calculator and do a few sums. Being based in the UK, they’re in pounds and pence rather than dollars and cents but I’m sure you’ll get the drift.

I smoke about 20 cigarettes a day. Based on the usual £6.05 that I pay for a pack of 20, that works out at £42.35 a week. That’s money I could really do something with. The monthly amount is £181.53 and it works out annually at £2,202.20.

Next I sat down and thought about what I could buy if I gave up smoking tomorrow and never started again…

After one day I could go out and buy a new book or a CD. £6.05 would just about cover a trip to the cinema.

If I saved up for a week I could buy a ticket to watch Manchester United, my favourite Premiership soccer team in action. I could take my girlfriend out for a half-decent meal or treat us to a take away and a more than decent bottle of wine. Or two.

After a month, my savings from not smoking could pay for a short city break, or a very nice shopping spree picking up some new clothes. Three months and we’re talking a new laptop or top of the range tablet. Over £540 would just about cover a season ticket in the cheap seats at Manchester United or fund a trip to an away game in the European Champions League. Imagine that, midweek in Madrid or Munich watching my team, courtesy of not smoking for 90 days.

Save my cigarette money for a year and we’re talking a fortnight’s holiday paid for, or a luxurious long weekend in London, staying in the best hotels, dining in the best restaurants and spending my savings in the best shops. Or I could be sensible, stick the money in a savings account and watch my new found extra cash grow.

In reality of course, money saved by quitting might well end up being eaten up in the household budget but seeing what I could do with my cigarette expenditure, well…it’s made me think.

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Smoking and Unemployment Part 2 of ProfessorTall007’s Trilogy No ratings yet.

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I am graciously accepting ProfessorTall007’s offer to continue the second part of her series concerning the root causes of smoking and its effects on unemployment and vice versa. Having had no practice in scholarly writing for the last ten years, I’m going to take the informal and speculative approach based merely on my personal observations. Unfortunately, I will have to premise these assumptions on my wanton addiction with Google News, Reddit and social media. The objective of this blog post: to supplement Professor Tall’s earlier conclusion that unemployment has an effect on the behavior of the young adult generation of today. 

As of May 2013, these are the unemployment numbers in the following countries (Data: Worldbank):

  • United States 7.6%
  • Spain 26.9%
  • Germany 5.3%
  • France 10.9%
  • Philippines 7.5%

The numbers are staggering yet in no way tell us of the stories simmering beneath them. One important disclosure before I begin: I do not live in the United States nor have I ever been to its shores. However, I do have my daily intake of popular American culture via our American-centric culture, media and of course the Internet. Moreover, I know it may hurt many of my Filipino brethren, but unfortunately it’s true. We Filipinos are heavily influenced by everything that is American. But that’s for another discussion. 

Evidently, the scholarly literature concerning a correlation with unemployment and smoking is plentiful. An abstract of “Unemployment, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption and body weight in young British men“ by Scott Montgomery and others, in the European Journal of Public Health Vol. 8, Issue 1 confirms an already popularly held notion that “Unemployment may play a significant part in establishing life-long patterns of hazardous behavior in young men”. The study was conducted in Britain. (Source)

This was also echoed in “Smoking habits—a question of trend or unemployment? A comparison of young men and women between boom and recession” published in Family Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University in Sweden. In the abstract, M. Novo and his team poses that “smoking habits were found to be a question of both unemployment and tobacco trends in society.

(Source)

In ProfessorTall007’s own words, “As I continue to reflect on issues concerning today's youth, I dare to say: hopelessness, nicotine/ drug addiction, and suicide whether combined or taken separately constitute the real smoking gun of the consequences of youth unemployment in 2013.”

Now I would be a fool if I tried to answer this issue that predominantly traces its roots to American economics and politics. It would be easy to come up with clever sound bites like, “We need to create more jobs and opportunities and this – [insert your own agenda] is the way to do it”

However, I am not a politician.

What I would focus instead is the universality of this issue. The studies I have cited have been conducted in Britain and in Sweden, which are both a long way from the US. However, if you dig deeper and peruse Google Scholar’s archives and key in the words “unemployment” and “smoking” in the same search box, you’d have a preponderance of evidence suggesting the same conclusion for the United States. Unemployment and depression are indeed major factors when it comes to smoking and this holds true for most of the world.

Rather than formulating my own conclusion, in this case I’d like end this post by opting for something inspirational instead. If you are young and unemployed right now and reading this, I would like to offer this unsolicited tidbit: there is hope both in terms of your current state in employment and your smoking habit.

By going to this website and by reading this today, you have been given the power to choose your destiny regardless of what situation you are in today. You just to take the first step and believe.

 

 

 

 

Creative Commons Image via Flickr.

 

 

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The Burdens of the Burning Cigarette No ratings yet.

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When you have an addiction you keep your friends down as well: true friends stick by your side, anything you can’t do because of smoking they won’t be doing neither, more than one life is affected when friends accept you for who you are. If they can do that, can’t you accept that you are dragging them around every time you take a drag?

Do you realize that your smoking habit loads you with more responsibilities than a non-smoking individual? Ask yourself this question. Do I want to be responsible for the outcome of my life as well as theirs? Responsibility, is multiplied when you are a smoker, people, generally speaking, tend to function in pairs. We call these pairs “best friends.” There is a forsaken code of conduct that we do whatever our friends are doing, scientifically speaking, we call this influence—and our friends have a lot of it, or shall I say YOU THE SMOKER have a cargo of influence that you’d never think of. Consider this:

My experience: Whenever my friend takes a breathing break at the gym, I don’t want to leave them lonely so I too take breaks even though I am fully charged…

My experience: Whenever I am upset at my computer I call it “stupid, and I slam it” ( bad internet connection). When my wife is writing in her notebook and she gets upset, as if she inherited my traits, she does the exact same thing “insult, then slam” –bad habits due to her being my friend and associating my habits with her own life.

Smokers are under the belief that they need cigarettes. Well, most people are vocal about it, sharing this with none other than their best friends. What we do as smokers is we demonstrate to anyone around us what it is to ‘need’ something. Some of our best friends are family members, or our own children. So what we do is we model the obsession as a stress reliever, we gossip about the fix it presents for the moment. There’s a saying, when you are doing something bad, do it away from children. Because children will perceive this, and feel accustomed to acting the same way towards it or associate it with other things they may encounter—just like our friends. Examples would be: our habits rubbing off on them, and them showing the same ‘need’ for alcohol, cigarettes, or something worse.

 

 

*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.

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