The post-coital cigarette is something of legend, but have too many, and you might not have many chances to light up after sex. Smokers are twice as likely to develop erectile dysfunction and nicotine impacts blood flow to lady parts, too.
Quitting smoking is hard because it forces us to put off immediate gratification. The latest episode of Radio Lab explores this challenge and follows 80-year-old Zelda Gamson, a woman who tried to quit smoking for decades. She couldn't until one day she told her friend she would donate $5,000 to the KKK if she ever smoked again. And it worked!
Neuroscientist David Eagleman explains that rewards offered right now (a satisfied cigarette craving) have so much more power than the things offered later (avoiding cancer and death). Zelda could quit when she tied the long-term plan to quit to an immediate feeling of disgust associated with the KKK. The immediate disgust fought the immediate desire. It was now vs. now. This reminds me of the cigarette packages plastered with graphic pictures of sick patients, or as they do in Europe, with bold letters warning that smoking causes sexual dysfunction — they try to illicit an immediate threat.
Since sex is about immediate desire, maybe reminding smokers that they can trade the instant gratification of a cigarette for better sex will help them rethink the cigarette. Let's just hope they don't hit a dry spell!