While movies have long portrayed cigarettes as a sexy accessory, 60 Minutes Correspondent Mike Wallace has learned that smoking can actually be detrimental to a man's love life.
Wallace asked Dr. Culley Carson of the University of North Carolina whether smoking causes impotence.
"There is absolutely no question about it. It causes it very commonly," Carson says.
Says Dr. John Mulhall of Loyola Medical Center in Chicago:
Mulhall and Culley are not doctors on the fringe. The link between smoking and impotence is the official conclusion of the American Medical Association. They say that blood vessel damage from smoking causes impotence.
"I feel confident that smoking does and can cause impotence," says the AMA's chairman, whose name happens to be Dr. Randolph Smoak.
To many, the AMA's acknowledgement may be the most believable seal of approval. However, Smoak says, both doctors and consumers have radically changed their views over the past thirty years on tobacco.
"In 1964 when the first surgeon general's report came out and told you something about tobacco, we really didn't believe it," Smoak says.
"And now we know so much more about...this type of problem of impotence associated with tobacco," he adds.
Smoking has been linked to impotence around the world. Studies in France, Sweden, and South Africa all found a greater percentage of smokers in impotent groups than in the general population. Many American urologists, including Dr. Mulhall, say a high percentage of their impotent patients are smokers.
When Mulhall informs his patients of this lesser-known side effect of smoking, they are not so much surprised as remorseful.
"...They say to me, 'If I'd only known that years ago,'" Dr. Mulhall says.
Tune in 60 Minutes Sunday, November 8 at 7:00PM ET/PT (Check local listings) to see Wallace's full report.
Reported By Mike Wallace
Copyright 1998 CBS. All rights reserved.
CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff