Besides causing heart disease, stroke and lung cancers, smoking also affects male virility. Not only concerning erectile dysfunction or impotence, cigarettes are also able to shorten the size of the penis.
This finding is based on results of a study conducted by researchers from Boston University School of Medicine to 200 participants who are male smokers. From the results of the study, smokers had an average of 1 cm shortening of their penis.
“This is the largest finding ever of cigarettes associated with sensitivity of sex,” said Dr. Pedram Salimpour, one of the researchers, according to Guardian.
According to Dr. Salimpour, the negative effect of smoking on the penis is the same as the effect of smoking on heart. This is a blood vessel damage, which makes blood flow obstructed.
Basically this is the effect of elastin, the elastic connective tissue protein and allows tissues in the body to get back into shape after stretching or contraction. In this case, elastin affects the ability of penile erection.
Dr. Salimpour explained, elastin can stretch like rubber. This is what happens to the penis as a result of increased blood flow.
Smoking can damage body’s ability to do that, so it could affect the size of the penis and erectile ability. But researchers could not determine how many cigarettes can damage elastin and shorten the penis size.
“It is still worth further study, but apparently the dangers of smoking are more susceptible to the penis rather than the heart,” explained Dr. Salimpour.
According to him, this is because the existing blood vessels in the penis is much smaller than the veins in the heart. Existing blood vessels in the heart is 1.5 mm, while the penile blood vessels 1 mm smaller.
Not only for active smokers, Dr. Salimpour also explains that there is a possibility that the same thing could also happen in passive smokers. But it still needs further study.
“Although the tobacco industry insists, but the scientific facts are against them,” said Dr. Salimpour.