Nobody likes a mummy's boy. It's one of the eternal arguments between girls and their disapproving mothers, and it's only as women grow older that the appeal of a chain smoking, whisky drinking tattooed, two-wheel riding dude loses its appeal - usually after a couple of failed are-we-or-aren't-we style relationships and one night flings. And even though there's plenty of empirical data to back this up (case in point: did anyone ever lust over 90210's Brandon in favour of Dylan?), so far scientists haven't really cared to verify this anthropological fact of life.

At least not until these Belgians came along. According to a new study undertaken by Ghent University, titled The Young Male Cigarette and Alcohol Syndrome: Smoking and Drinking as a Short-Term Mating Strategy, it's a proven scientific fact that bad boys who smoke and drink are seen as more attractive short-term partners by females. (Duh.) "Despite the harmful physical effects of smoking and drinking, many young men continue to use both substances. Therefore, in this article, we explored the possibility that male youngsters use these physical risky behaviours as a short-term mating strategy," reads the study.

So how did they prove that this strategy works (aside from studying the career paths of Leo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp)? The study asked 239 Belgian women aged 17-30 to read 10 sets of male profiles, outlining the frequency of their smoking or drinking behaviours. The women were then asked to rate the men in terms of short-term partner attractiveness and long-term partner potential. The results backed up what we all know now - guys who smoke and drink more are much sexier (albeit short-term) alternatives to the goody two shoes who rarely touch alcohol or cigarettes.

According to the research, both smoking and drinking are seen as risky behaviours and this apparent disregard for the long-term consequences is perceived by women as more sexually appealing. Moreover, even though sexual prowess has little correlation with unhealthy vices, among women, regular smokers and drinkers were seen as more "sexually unrestricted" than non-smokers and abstainers, with ciggies and booze bringing "short-term attractiveness benefits to its users."

So there you have it. Women love men who smoke and drink and guys should consider lighting up and knocking back a few if they want to get laid. As un-PC as this may be, we're not arguing with Kate Moss' lifelong dating strategy.

Got a thing for bad boys? Science has an explanation