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Notebook with New Year's Resolutions listed.

Address ED: Start Now on Your New Year’s ‘Quit Smoking’ Resolution

Even though New Year’s Day is still weeks away, it’s never to early to get a jumpstart on New Year’s resolutions. 

If you’re like most people, your New Year’s resolution will be health-centered, like losing a certain amount of weight, running a 5k, or finally giving Whole30 a try. Why not make a resolution that’ll not only benefit your health, but also improve your sex life?

Read below to learn why you should quit smoking, not only for your overall health but also for your erectile functioning.

Cigarettes, Health, and Sexual Functioning

Blood vessel diagram.

More than 34 million adults in the United States alone smoke cigarettes, which equates to roughly 1.75 times the population of the entire state of New York. A more alarming number? 1 of every 5. That’s the number of deaths linked to smoking cigarettes every year in the United States, making cigarettes the leading cause of death.

Smoking cigarettes, which are filled with toxic chemicals, is linked to:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Lung cancer
  • Type II diabetes

As men age, they are at greater risk of developing erectile dysfunction (ED), a sexual disorder that is regularly linked to poor circulation. Many of the diseases caused by cigarette smoking, including the ones listed above, create circulation issues, which in turn can affect erectile functioning. Men get and keep erections when there is adequate blood flow to the penis. Circulation issues mean blood flow is not as strong, which can make getting an erection or maintain an erection difficult.

Given that men are at risk of developing ED as they age, and that men are more likely to be smokers than women, it’s time to have a serious discussion about quitting smoking.

How to Make Quitting Smoking a Successful New Year’s Resolution

Person breaking a cigarette in half.

Okay, so you know that quitting smoking has benefits for overall physical health and sexual functioning, but now you want to know how to do it. To make quitting smoking a successful New Year’s resolution, these tips can help:

  1. Start small: Going from smoking a pack a day to quitting cold turkey is not only going to be difficult, it’s also going to be miserable. If you’re looking for a more manageable approach, set yourself a goal of moving from one pack a day to half a pack a day. Then from half a pack a day to only a couple cigarettes, etc. until you’re not smoking any.
  2. Talk about it. It’s easier to accomplish a goal when you’re accountable to others. Talking about your goal of quitting smoking can also help you find a group of people to support you on good days and help you through the tough ones.
  3. Give yourself some credit. Quitting smoking is hard. You might have bad days where you slip up and have a cigarette, giving into a trigger. That’s okay. Your quitting journey might not be linear. Don’t let small setbacks completely derail your efforts. Tell yourself that tomorrow is a new day to start fresh.
  4. Remember why you quit. Maybe you want to work on your relationship with your spouse, and you think quitting cigarettes will help your intimacy issues. Or may you want to live long enough to see your grandchildren graduate from college. Whatever your motivation for quitting, remind yourself often so that you have something to focus on when you face hard times.
  5. Find helpful resources. There are a number of resources that can help you understand and thrive during your quitting journey, including how to get through the first week and where to go for support (1-800-LUNGUSA).

Smoking cigarettes is a serious issue in the United States, causing a number of health issues and impacting sexual relationships in some men. Prioritize your health now and choose to quit smoking as a New Year’s resolution, and start early. In the meantime, consider reaching out to a healthcare professional to see if Viagra is appropriate to combat erectile dysfunction while you’re working to meet your goal. You can learn more at the eDrugstore Erectile Dysfunction page.

Kwynn holds a Master of Public Health and is currently pursuing a PhD in Social Work. Her research examines the intersections of health, technology, and gender-based violence.