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Peter Rost, M.D., is a former Pfizer Marketing Vice President providing services as a medical device and drug expert witness and pharmaceutical marketing expert. Judge Sanders: "The court agrees with defendants' view that Dr. Rost is a very adept and seasoned expert witness." He is also the author of Emergency Surgery, The Whistleblower and Killer Drug. You can reach him on rostpeter (insert symbol) Please read the terms of use agreement and privacy policy for this blog carefully.

Smokers Have More Sex

I have never smoked. Never will.

Sure, I tried a cigarette once, when I was about eleven or twelve. Just curious what it tasted like.

Didn't do anything for me. Just tasted tar and smoke.

So today, when Pfizer launches Chantix, to help smokers quit, it may be a good time to write about smoking. Apparently there are about 45 million adult smokers in the U.S., and approximately 70 percent say they want to quit. According to Pfizer. So, a big market out there.

But will this new product work, where nicotine gums and nicotine patches only made a dent in the smoking market?

Less than 7 percent of smokers who try to quit achieve at least one year of abstinence, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Yet most of us know smokers who smoke just now and then, perhaps at festive occasions. So what's going on here?

Well, smokers are not like non-smokers. They are different. And I know some of my readers are going to be shocked about the following.

There has been a lot of research done on smokers, one of the researchers is Hans Eysenck, a British psychologist.

He and others have shown that heavy smokers have a much greater sex drive than nonsmokers. They are also more sexually adventuresome and have a greater "need" for sex and greater attraction to the opposite sex.

In one study, at age nineteen, 15% of nonsmoking white women attending college had had sex. The same number for white smoking female college students was 55%. And Eysneck claims the same is true for smoking and nonsmoking men.

I had no idea about any of this until yesterday, when I happened to read about this in The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. So don’t blame me if you don’t like the information.

Come to think of it, young guys prowling for women have always been interested in finding some kind of signal that would indicate a women is more likely to end up in bed with them. And here we have it—if she has a cigarette in her hand, she’s about 400% more likely to want to have sex with you. According to data from Eysneck.

What's going on here is that smokers rank much higher on what psychologists call "anti-social" indexes. They are more rebellious, defiant and make faster judgments. They simply take more risks.

And they don't smoke because they don't know it is dangerous. In studies where smokers were asked how many years of their lives they would lose because of smoking they thought they would lose on average nine years. The truth is they will lose on average six to seven years. So they overestimate the risk, yet still smoke.

And there's no question that certain, more rebellious groups smoke more than others. Compare actors or rock musicians, with computer programmers and white collar workers.

The problem is that people don't start to smoke because smoking is cool. They start to smoke because cool people smoke. And when it becomes uncool to smoke, which has happened to a great extent in our large corporations, people stop smoking. After all, it is not just bad for your health, but it may also be bad for your career. The same is unfortunately not yet true in Europe.

Still, when I was overseas and prohibited smoking at any company function or premise, even some of the smokers welcomed that change.

As far as genetics, people appear to be predisposed to smoke. Not to say there isn't also a free will. This is the deal. Children of smoking parents stand a very good chance of becoming smokers. But the same is not true if smoking parents adopt children. Those children aren't much more likely to smoke than children of nonsmoking parents.

Apparently, some people get an immediate buzz from smoking, and can tolerate nicotine better than others. Those are much more likely to become heavy smokers. Whereas others don't feel much and their bodies are more sensitive to nicotine and treat it as the poison really is.

And most smokers don't start out as regular smokers. They go days without smoking, then have a cigarette again. Some of these smokers “graduate” to heavy, daily smoking but many remain casual smokers for years. Again, it is likely that there is a certain genetic predisposition to nicotine which traps some of the smokers.

As far as I'm concerned, as a society, we are complete hypocrites. We allow one of the most addictive substances, nicotine, in an unregulated fashion, yet we chase other drugs. Of course, I understand the background. Cigarettes have been around for hundreds of years. Then again, some of the other illegal drugs also used to be legal a hundred years ago and could be bought over the counter. I’d be delighted if we had cigarettes outlawed in a similar fashion. Problem is we’d end up with a huge underground market, just like during Prohibition. The alternative is to slowly decrease nicotine levels in cigarettes. But of course that won't happen, there's too much money in it for everyone.

It is also completely unscientific to claim that those "other" illegal drugs are as addictive as we are made to believe. In the 1996 Household survey on drug abuse, 1.1% said they had used heroin at least once, but only 18% of those had used it in the past year. Less than 1% had used cocaine, and of those only 0.9% were regular users. So clearly the idea that you get hooked at once is complete misinformation.

And the fact is that virtually nothing is as addictive and dangerous as regular cigarettes.

But no one is calling for a ban of those cigarettes. Instead everyone is making money on them. Both the people who sell them, treat the sick patients, and the drug companies. So everyone is happy.

And now we have one more happy group.

The young men who know, after reading this blog, what a college-age woman holding a lighted cigarette really thinks.

Come and get me. I'm 400% more likely to have sex with you than my nonsmoking friend.

There's just one big problem, no pun intended.

While smokers may have more sex when they are young, they have a lot less when they get older.

That's because of the cardivascular damage caused by cigarettes.

Smoking increases the risk of erectile dysfunction by around 50% for men in their 30s and 40s.

And since women have a similar cardivascular response to sexual stimulation as men, decreased blood flow to female sexual organs can lead to decreased sexual arousal or orgasm.

That should be enough reason for both men and women to stop smoking.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was once a college-age woman holding a lighted cigarette. What was I thinking - fat chance.

Signed - The ex-smoking (cold turkey, if you must know) exception to the rule.

Anonymous Rosethejet said...

Fascinating write up Doc.

Seriously I enjoyed it immensely, now I need a smoke..

Just kidding I have never smoked and cannot for the life of me figure it out. I tried it once when we lived in Japan. I was 14 and my mom and I were at the officer's club having lunch waiting for the cab to take us to the airport to finish our transfer up to northern Japan.

She had gone to the loo and left her ciggie and I picked it up and took a hit.

OH MY GOD! Hacked and coughed and looked at my mom like she was stone crazy when she came back. The waitresses got a good laugh watching me.

Never tried it again. Lord what a nasty habit.

Wasn't it Bob Newhart that had this hilarious comediy bit about describing smoking to the Queen of England?

"you, you.. stick WHAT in your mouth and set it on fire? AND then inhale the smoke?"

It was pretty funny.

My mother decided to quit smoking one day and did. NO problem and never went back.

My brother on the other hand is on his...ummm 240th attempt to stop smoking. Not just no willpower but he gets mad when anyone tries to encourage him. Go figure.

I never went to bars to pick anyone up. Just dancing and drinking and hanging with friends.

So I guess I'm never going to be the demographic the cig companies are aiming at?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ironic! i quit smoking yesterday. cold turkey. it's the second time in six months.

are there any studies on the liklihood of staying off cigarettes when your spouse still smokes? my husband smokes quite a bit and being around him constantly wears down on the will to quit. :(

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hang in there Anon-

I had the habit for 12+ years, before I went "cold turkey". I've been smoke free for more than 22 yr. now. If I can do it, anyone can.

Signed - The ex-smoking (cold turkey, if you must know) exception to the rule.

Anonymous Gary said...

Hey Doc, where were you with this valuable information 30 years ago? When a female would pull out a cig, she automatically was off the list. What was I thinking?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live to smoke weed!!!

Anonymous Gary said...


"The message will be: The United States stands with you," Sen. Bill Nelson (news, bio, voting record), D-Fla., one of the authors, said in an interview. "Be ready to assert your independence."

Oh goody, we are about to stick our nose into it again. I can hardy wait to see how we F*** this one up.

Blogger Karen McL said...

It may be that the smoking *signals* a "willingness" to have more sex...but as a non-smoker the smell and taste of smokers is HORRID. (Blech!)

Probably only works if the other partner seeking sex is also a smoker and therefore immune and willing to overlook the negatives of that encounter.

Blogger Peter Rost said...

Karen. Yes, couldn't agree more. Kissing a smoker is like tasting a tar pit. What a shock first time that happened.

Blogger steller said...

so that explains why i have such sex drive that i had to go to webdate just to find someone who can totally satisfy me sexually..

Blogger beeta said...

This might be pre-mature but, this could be your all time woman catcher article ever!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I stop smoking I get (really) fat.
And mean.
And constipated.

I smoke 1/2 pack a day - outdoors only. No alcohol. Fresh veggies, fruit; lotsa fish, no red meat. I feel mah'vellous.

I'll never quit. And sex is good :-))

Blogger Moogirl said...


Blogger Moogirl said...

Sorry Doc, still testing, trying to figure out the comments options.


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