Since gays as a group appear to have an unusually high number of smokers, I figured that I'd highlight this article (http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=86110). Personally, I am not a smoker and never have smoked in part because for over 30 years my mother ran a hospital lab that worked at diagnosing cancer in patients. She made a point of presenting gross photos of smokers' lungs and other nasty information to us children in order to convince us that smoking was NOT a good idea. Perhaps this article will convince gays that if they will not stop smoking to protect their health, then maybe they will to avoid impotence. Here are some highlights:
SUNDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- If heart disease, stroke and certain cancers haven't been reason enough for men to quit smoking, consider this: The habit also increases the risk of erectile dysfunction. In fact, emerging research shows that men with a pack-a-day habit are almost 40 percent more likely to struggle with erectile dysfunction than men who don't smoke. "Smoking delivers nicotine and other vasoconstrictors that close down the blood vessels" of the penis, explained Dr. Jack Mydlo, chairman of urology at Temple University School of Medicine and Hospital in Philadelphia.
A recent study of more than 8,000 Australian men between the ages of 16 and 59 found that those who smoked less than a pack a day had a 24 percent increased risk of erectile problems. And, as the number of cigarettes smoked went up, so, too, did the chances of erectile dysfunction. Those men who averaged more than 20 cigarettes a day increased their risk of erectile dysfunction by 39 percent, reported the study, published in the journal Tobacco Control. Another study, this one published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that male smokers in their 40s were more likely to experience erectile difficulties than older nonsmoking males. The risk of erectile dysfunction was nearly doubled for smoking men in their 40s compared to nonsmokers in their 50s.
Mydlo added one more word of caution: "Don't use ED medications -- Viagra, Cialis -- if you don't need them. Erections that last longer than four hours -- priapism -- can cause permanent scar tissue and permanent impotence. It's not a good idea to use these drugs casually."