Is Smoking a Sexual Health Issue? You bet.

In thinking about the rational reasons to quit smoking, the links to your sexual health may not be front and center. The two most obvious concerns are about using the birth control pill and in pregnancy.

No matter your age, having nicotine in your system from smoking while taking birth control pills or using Nuva Ring can seriously up your risk of blood clots, heart disease and stroke. These health issues can (yikes) lead to death and will also affect your life for years to come. There is some evidence, too, that nicotine lessens the effectiveness of some pills. True, there are other birth control options that mix better with nicotine, so if you are a smoker definitely talk to your health care provider about your best options.

Moving onto pregnancy, your smoking (or even being around second hand smoke) is toxic, and those toxins go straight into your bloodstream and placenta, which is where your developing baby gets its nutrients and oxygen, potentially causing it great harm. Being pregnant and smoking (or using tobacco any way) increases the chances that your baby will be born at a lower than healthy weight – again, a situation that can affect its health and development long into life.

So, if pills or the ring are your method of choice or you’re planning on getting pregnant soon (or are pregnant) how about giving it one more try to quit. It’s hard, we know. Some of your Beforeplay.org team has been there.

But don’t give up. The more you try to quit, they more likely you are to succeed. And now there’s a new app that can help you out as well. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment – which is also a partner in Beforeplay.org – has a free app to help smokers quit – including how much money you’ll save. You can download it at TobaccoFreeCO.org. It allows Coloradans to track their real-time savings by setting a quit date and providing some basic information: a quit date, cigarettes smoked per day, cost of a pack of cigarettes, and cigarettes per pack. The app’s dashboard then shows the major benefits of quitting, including money saved, days added to life, cigarettes not smoked and days since the last smoke. The app saves the user’s best quitting attempt in case of relapse.

The app also uses location-aware technology for additional motivation. When a user visits one of hundreds of locations in Colorado where tobacco products are sold, a message appears on the mobile device to help the user stick with his or her quit attempt. It’s a great support system to have while you’re working to quit. Go for it – we’re behind you all the way. It’s just another part of great sexual health.