Despite the many health risks of smoking and drinking, there may be an upside.

Men who smoke and drink are seen as more attractive to women looking for a casual fling or short-term relationship, according to a new study.

Researchers found that this behaviour is seen as more 'risky', and this makes them more appealing to women not looking for love.

The study was carried out by Eveline Vincke and her colleagues at Ghent University in Belgium.


Her team interviewed 239 women aged 17 to 30.

The volunteers were asked to rate the behaviour of similarly-aged men based on how healthy, and risk, these behaviours were.

Turns out smoking does increase your bad-boy image. Photo / Getty
Turns out smoking does increase your bad-boy image. Photo / Getty

They were also asked to reveal if they'd be interested in dating them in the short and long term.

The experiment showed women perceive men who smoke and drink as being more 'short-term oriented in their sexuality' than those who live a healthier life.

Put more simply, they'd be more willing to have short-term, casual relationships with men exhibiting this behaviour.

Both smoking and especially alcohol use made the men more attractive in short-term mating contexts.

A follow-up study confirmed that men's behaviour corresponds with women's perceptions.

Using a sample of 171 men aged 17 to 30, the men who were also looking for short-term relationships were more likely to smoke and drink.


Overall, the researchers said these findings show cigarette and alcohol use can operate as a short-term mating strategy.

And when it comes to long-term relationships, the opposite was true - women preferred 'risk-avoidant men', or those who didn't smoke or drink.