Puffing cigarette poses impotency threat: Chinese experts
You may look more attractive to women while puffing a cigarette but the habit - Chinese health experts warn - poses impotency threat.
"Smoking is a risk factor to erectile dysfunction (ED). But this link is not so much talked about in China compared to in the United States or Europe," said Wang Chen, the director of the WHO Tobacco or Health Cooperation Centre in Beijing.
"We should talk about it out loud and back the claim with solid scientific statistics," Wang said during a tobacco control workshop, attended by top officials from key hospitals across the country.
A survey of 12,743 Chinese men aged between 15 to 60 last year showed about 17.1 per cent were impotent, the anti-smoking chief said, adding that smoking is a risk factor alongside cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and diabetes.
Another study, conducted in 2007, found that smokers are 1.41 times more likely to have ED than non-smokers. It is estimated that 22 per cent of China's ED cases are related to smoking.
More than half of Chinese men above the age of 15 smoke, according to WHO and the Health Ministry statistics, placing the country eighth on a list of 120 countries and regions surveyed by the WHO in 2010.
Besides ED, studies in China also found smoking can reduce the activity of sperm, though this link needs more support from lab evidence to be confirmed globally, state news agency Xinhua reported today.
"But by now, studies conducted in different Chinese cities and provinces have all confirmed it," Wang said, adding there is also evidence that the more a man smokes, the poorer his sperm quality.
China has more than 300 million smokers and more than 1 million people die of smoking-related illnesses in the country every year, a figure experts predict will rise to 3 million a year by 2050.