November 6, 1998

"60 Minutes" To Broadcast Report On Impotence Among Smokers

CBS News will report on the November 8 edition of "60 Minutes" that a number of researchers have found that male smokers have significantly higher rates of impotence than nonsmokers. Male smokers are about twice as likely as nonsmokers to suffer from impotence according to research conducted by the New England Research Institute and the Centers for Disease Control.

"There is absolutely no question about it. It causes it very commonly," Dr. Cully Carson, chairman of the Urology Department at the University of North Carolina, told CBS.

Dr. Randolph Smoak, chairman of the American Medical Association, who also agrees on the link between smoking and impotence, said, "Smoking does and can cause impotence. We have not paid attention to impotence because it didn't kill people, but it severely incapacitated men prematurely."

Source: "Add Impotence To The List Of Smokers' Ills," REUTERS, November 5, 1998.

Advocates, Scientists Warn Of Link Between Smoking And Impotence

Scientists and public health advocates have recently increased efforts to educate the public on the links between smoking and impotence.

A $21 million antismoking campaign in California features an ad linking smoking to impotence, and asks the question: "Cigarettes - still think they're sexy?"

CBS "60 Minutes" ran a segment Sunday evening featuring doctors warning viewers that the impotence rate among smokers is nearly double the rate for nonsmokers.

Some public health advocates believe that the fear of impotence may get smokers' attention. Some advocates are finding the subject of impotence easier to broach in the wake of broad public discussion of anti-impotence drug Viagra. Carla Agar, of the California Department of Health Services, comments, "Absent the Viagra debate, impotence wasn't a commonly discussed topic. I think the discussion surrounding Viagra has allowed us to take the issue of impotence into the public domain."

Dr. Judith MacKay, of the Asian Consultancy on Tobacco Control, said, "I only have to mention impotence to an audience and everyone sits up. We're saying maybe the Marlboro cowboy isn't so virile after all." Matthew Myers, of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said that warning smokers of the risk of impotence "could have a powerful effect."

Source: Suein Hwang and Nick Cumming-Bruce, "How Impotence Became Weapon Against Smoking," WALL STREET JOURNAL, November 9, 1998, p. B1.