Smoking is a widespread problem affecting millions of people worldwide. However, it is much more prevalent among men than women, despite its long-recorded adverse effects. The National Institute of Health reports gender differences in tobacco use, with 3% more adult males smoking cigarettes than adult females.
The adverse effects of smoking on men’s health can be wide-ranging and severe, impacting everything from physical fitness to relationships. In this article, we will explore three ways in which men are negatively affected by cigarette smoking and how to combat the habit.
Higher risk of disease
Health statistics reflect the prevalence of smoking in men — Our World in Data reports that smoking leads to lung cancer in a larger portion of the male population. An average of 27 males per 100,000 die of lung cancer in the United States each year, compared to 19 females per 100,000. In addition, men who smoke are at a higher risk of other health problems such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, stroke, and heart disease. The health effects alone show how detrimental the consequences of smoking are to the male population.
Smoking can lead to decreased physical fitness and endurance, making it harder for men to engage in physical activity. It damages the lungs and reduces their ability to absorb oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. With generally having greater muscle mass and increased oxygen needs, this lack of oxygen can lead to muscle wasting and decreased overall fitness. Furthermore, cigarettes release over 7,000 toxic chemicals that can constrict blood vessels. This can make it harder for men to exercise or recover from workouts.
Decreased sex life
Men who smoke are at a higher risk of erectile dysfunction, lower sperm count, and poor sperm motility than non-smokers—all of which can affect their sexual health and fertility. As mentioned earlier, the chemicals in tobacco smoke can constrict blood vessels and consequently reduce blood flow to the penis. This can make it difficult to achieve and maintain an erection. As such, smoking can lead to reduced sexual function, including decreased sexual satisfaction, fewer sexual encounters, and difficulty achieving orgasm.
Tips for men to quit smoking
Use smoking alternatives
Men looking to quit smoking can benefit from using smokeless alternatives like nicotine pouches and gum. These products can help you avoid the harmful effects of smoking while addressing nicotine cravings. Nicotine pouches are tobacco-free products that deliver nicotine to the body through the lining of the mouth. The On! nicotine pouches featured on Prilla illustrate how cravings can be satisfied through fun flavors such as citrus and cinnamon. Because these pouches come in different strengths—2mg, 4mg, and 8mg—there is an option available for men with different needs. Similarly, Nicorette’s nicotine gum provides a discrete way to meet nicotine needs, since gum allows men to access nicotine in an easy-to-use way. They also come in various flavors and strengths to suit your preferences. Such products can help you manage your cigarette cravings and kick the habit for good.
Start an exercise routine
Physical activity can be an effective means to help men quit smoking for good. As mentioned earlier, years of smoking can contribute to decreased muscle mass in men, on top of lung damage. To this end, regular exercise can help by building back lost muscle and improving lung function. For men new to working out, our post “What Is The Best Reason To Ease Into An Exercise Program” provides practical tips for exercising. These include assessing your fitness level and training with a personal trainer. Finally, it’s essential to consult with a doctor before starting an exercise program, especially if you have a history of smoking-related health issues.
Seek therapy and support
Eliminating triggers that lead to smoking is crucial if you’re trying to quit. Behavioral therapy can help you identify your specific smoking triggers, such as stress, boredom, or social situations like drinking with friends. It can also help you come up with—and stick to—strategies to avoid or cope with these triggers. Common techniques used in therapy include deep breathing, meditation, and visualization. Additionally, apps such as Insight Timer or Breathe+ can help you develop a more robust mental resolve while providing quick relaxation techniques that can come in handy when triggers arise. You can also consider joining support groups specifically for men. These can give you a sense of camaraderie and accountability as you go through the quitting process.
Smoking is a serious health issue that disproportionately affects men. Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do to improve your health and prolong your life.