Dr. Rosie King, a prominent author and sex therapist, dubbed smoking as a sexual suicide, and named shisha smoking as the root cause of impotency in men in the Middle East, a newspaper reported on Thursday.
Dr. King told the UAE-based Emirates Business that if a man in his 40s and is a heavy smoker; his chances of suffering erectile dysfunction is 25 percent higher.
"Smoking contributes to the narrowing of the arteries in the penis, thus leading to a limited blood flow to the male organ, hence making it difficult for the man to show his pleasure towards his partner."
Mideast governments on the roll to curb smoking
Egypt’s ministry of health graphically warned of the potential for tobacco-induced impotence in its 2010 media label of a drooping cigarette on every cigarette pack sold in the country.
Next to the picture of the limp butt, a statement in Arabic warned, "long-term smoking will affect marital relations."
In June 2010, Alexandria, Egypt's northern Mediterranean coast city is on its way to become the country's first no smoking city, beginning with a ban on smoking in government buildings.
Egypt is the biggest Arab consumer of cigarettes. It is estimated that Egyptians smoke up to 19 billion cigarettes each year.
Omani and Pakistani governments have issued warnings on smoking and impotency over the past year. Both governments linked impotency with the growing trend of shisha smoking, which, according to consumer surveys, is looked upon as a national pastime in the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent, the newspaper reported.
UAE has banned shisha smoking outdoors in residential areas and near schools in 2009. UAE data shows 54 percent of shisha smokers indulge in water pipes in cafes, and the other 46 percent smoke shisha at home.
"Let's face it, shisha is delicious, with its exotic flavors and its ability to disguise itself as such a harmless thing to do," Dr King said. "But data from the World Health Organization has revealed the harmful nature of this seemingly innocent act."
According to WHO, Shisha’s water pipe burn flavored tobacco and can expose users to the smoke equivalent to five packs of cigarettes.
"The health risks are catastrophic, but for men especially, this high amount of tobacco in the body can only lead result in a downward trend," Dr King said.
Dr. King said that she always gives her patients an advice that "the more you smoke, the less you poke."