OK, we all know that smoking is bad for you. Smoking can cause:
- Heart disease
- Chronic bronchitis
In fact, according to the CDC, approximately 20% of people who die each year – die from a smoking-related cause. They note,
- Smoking causes more deaths each year than the following causes combined:
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Illegal drug use
- Alcohol use
- Motor vehicle injuries
- Firearm-related incidents
- More than 10 times as many U.S. citizens have died prematurely from cigarette smoking than have died in all the wars fought by the United States.1
Why is it any surprise than that smoking can also cause erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence, has many potential causes – both physical and psychological, and sometimes both. However, it’s important to talk about causes that we actually have control over.
How Smoking Causes Erectile Dysfunction
The chemicals you inhale when you smoke are well known to harm your cardiovascular system. They damage your blood vessels’ lining and negatively affects their function. This damage prevents your blood vessels from pumping blood to all the parts of your body effectively… including the penis.
Your erection happens when the arteries in your penis expand and fill with blood. This expansion happens when the nerves in your penis receive stimulation. Even if your nerves are working properly, if your blood vessels are damaged and can’t properly expand, your erection won’t happen or will be very weak.
Research on Smoking and Erectile Dysfunction
Studies have repeatedly shown a direct correlation between smoking and an increased incidence of erectile dysfunction.
- A 2005 study of 2,115 men showed those who had smoked had an increased incidence of erectile dysfunction, for the men between ages 40 and 79.2
- In 2000, 513 men were studied, and it was found that “Cigarette smoking at baseline almost doubled the likelihood of moderate or complete ED at followup.”3
- In 2001, found smoking impaired erection quality, by preventing the endothelium dependent smooth muscle relaxation. Researchers found that smokers were two times more likely to experience moderate to complete erectile dysfunction than non-smokers.4
Stopping Smoking Can Improve Erectile Dysfunction
The good news is research has shown stopping smoking can potentially help improve your erectile dysfunction.
- A small 1998 study found, “Stopping cigarette smoking is a factor that rapidly improves penile tumescence and rigidity. Because the improvement continues while the patient is receiving nicotine from transdermal patches, some factor or factors other than the nicotine are responsible for the erectile dysfunction.”5
- A 2004 study found that after stopping smoking for 1 year, more than 25% of study participants saw an improvement in their erectile dysfunction. The severity of the ED, age of the participant, and the amount the participant smoked prior to quitting were all found to be factors in whether or not they saw improvement.6
So, what have we learned?
- If you don’t smoke — don’t start!
- Stay away from second-hand smoke. Yup, even if you’re around people smoking, you’re breathing in those harmful chemicals.
- If you smoke currently – stop.
- If you stop smoking, you may see improvement in your erectile dysfunction. (Not to mention all of the other health benefits.)
Stopping smoking isn’t easy. Nicotine is an addiction. Don’t be afraid to get help. There are lots of products now available to help you kick the habit. Plus, you can always post on our Forums about your decision to stop, and our awesome community will be happy to help support you!
1 Smoking & Tobacco Use. (2017, May 15). Retrieved September 4, 2018, from https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/index.htm
2 Naomi M. Gades, Ajay Nehra, Debra J. Jacobson, Michaela E. McGree, Cynthia J. Girman, Thomas Rhodes, Rosebud O. Roberts, Michael M. Lieber, Steven J. Jacobsen; Association between Smoking and Erectile Dysfunction: A Population-based Study, American Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 161, Issue 4, 15 February 2005, Pages 346–351, https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwi052
3 Feldman, H. A., Johannes, C. B., Derby, C. A., Kleinman, K. P., Mohr, B. A., Araujo, A. B., & McKinlay, J. B. (2000). Erectile dysfunction and coronary risk factors: prospective results from the Massachusetts male aging study. Preventive medicine, 30(4), 328-338.
4 McVary, K. T., Carrier, S., & Wessells, H. (2001). Smoking and erectile dysfunction: evidence based analysis. The Journal of urology, 166(5), 1624-1632.
5 Guay, MD, FACE, A. T., Perez, MD, J. B., & Heatley, MS, G. J. (1998). Cessation of smoking rapidly decreases erectile dysfunction. Endocrine Practice, 4(1), 23-26.
6 Pourmand, G. , Alidaee, M. R., Rasuli, S. , Maleki, A. and Mehrsai, A. (2004), Do cigarette smokers with erectile dysfunction benefit from stopping?: a prospective study. BJU International, 94: 1310-1313. doi:10.1111/j.1464-410X.2004.05162.x