The Association of Smoking with Erectile Dysfunction

7 minutes

In a recent study conducted by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that about 34 million adults in the United States currently smoke cigarettes and it is accounting for about 480,000 deaths every year due to various conditions that it leads to. The World Health Organization always warns that smokers are liable to die young because of the many health risks they expose themselves to. Among many such diseases include heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular diseases, and pulmonary disease. 

Almost all 20% of middle-aged men in America are active smokers and Cigarette smoking is a leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality in the United States. 

In addition to the well-established harmful effects of smoking (i.e coronary artery disease and lung cancer), the past three decades have evidence of a relationship between cigarette smoking and erectile dysfunction

Though erectile dysfunction is more prominent in older men, this disorder is not necessarily the result of aging. Other health issues like diabetes, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), kidney disease, and multiple sclerosis have also been connected to ED. A huge body of scientific research, however, shows that ED is more widespread among smokers.

Today let’s discuss How and Why smoking causes Erectile Dysfunction? 

Association of smoking with Erectile Dysfunction

Erection happens as the blood supply to the penis rises and is often stirred by sexual imagination or physical interaction with the penis. The penis becomes relaxed and makes room for increased blood supply through the penile arteries through the two chambers in the penis, referred to as the corpora cavernosa. As soon as the chambers become filled up, the penis becomes rigid. When the muscles contract and the accrued blood flow out via the penile veins, then the erection becomes placid.

Cigarettes contain tobacco that has nicotine (a poisonous alkaloid) and other harmful elements, such as CO carbon (II) oxide, NH3 ammonia, prussic acid, acrolein, aldehydes, and tars. 

Nicotine is a very strong vasoconstrictor, which means that it causes arteries to tighten and prevents blood flow to the arteries of the penis.

There are several factors that can induce erectile dysfunction in men, such as physical and psychological causes. Smoking is believed to be one of the main reasons for erectile dysfunction, as smoking has the potential to kill blood vessels and arteries that do not open well enough to allow free blood flow into the penis. So without enough blood flow, one cannot get an erection for satisfactory sexual intercourse.

Also Scientists have found that in blood vessels, smoking contributes to fat deposition. This lowers the blood vessels’ inner diameter. As a result of prolonged smoking, the elasticity of the blood vessels decreases. Therefore, arteries do not provide the body’s organs with sufficient quantities of blood and the male reproductive tract is no exception to this inadequacy. This leads to Erectile dysfunction.

Effect of Smoking dosage on ED

In a recent study, it has been concluded that heavy smokers who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day had double the chance of severe ED compared to those who smoke less. It has also been found that a person who smokes 29 packs per year was responsible for a significantly increased risk for ED compared to a less-than 12 packs per year history which carried with it the same risk as a non-smoker. So we can conclude that heavy smoking causes more severe ED and can be non-reversible following Smoking cessation.

Smoking effect on other comorbidities associated with ED

Smoking cigarettes can affect other comorbidities associated with ED such as atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease which are known to affect Erectile function by decreasing penile perfusion pressures resulting in increased time to maximal erection and decreased rigidity during erection.

Smoking is also associated with diabetes which can contribute to ED through microvascular and macrovascular damage. A recent study has concluded that more than 50 percent of diabetics have some degree of ED associated with it. 

Vaping and ED

Vaping is being considered as an alternative to smoking Cigarettes as it is less harmful comparatively. Vaping is breathing in an aerosol that contains several chemicals, including nicotine and flavoring, through an e-cigarette. The aerosol is inhaled into the lungs where the nicotine and chemicals cross over into the bloodstream. Even though vaping is less harmful than smoking it is not safe to vape as it can still affect your lung and can block the blood flow into the penis which in turn will cause Erectile dysfunction.

The aerosol also contains acetone, which is used as a solvent, and breathing in dangerous chemicals that include acetone may irritate the skin and eyes when you come into contact with it. Other chemicals in vapes may cause cancer over time.

Immediate Benefits of Quitting smoking

  • Sexual healing

Stopping smoking now can lower your chances of erectile dysfunction and improve your chances of having a healthy sexual life. It will also boost your sex drive and increases your sex appeal.

  • Stronger immune system
    As soon as you quit smoking, your immune system is no longer exposed to tar and nicotine. It will become stronger, and you will be less likely to get sick.
  • Stronger muscles and bones
    Quitting smoking can increase the availability of oxygen in your blood, your muscles will become stronger, and can reduce the risk of fracture of bones.
  • Decreased heart risk
    Smoking is the leading cause of heart attacks and heart disease. But many of these heart risks can be reversed simply by quitting smoking. Quitting can lower your blood pressure and heart rate almost immediately. Your risk of a heart attack declines within 24 hours. It will also lower the levels of cholesterol and fats circulating in your blood, which will help to slow the buildup of new fatty deposits in your arteries.
  • Lower Cancer risk
    Quitting smoking can avoid the incidence of new DNA damage and will also help fix the damage already done. The easiest way to lower the chances of developing cancer is to immediately stop smoking.
  • Stops lung damage
    In 1-12 months of quitting smoking, coughing, and shortness of breath decrease. Tiny hair-like structures (called cilia) that move mucus out of the lungs start to regain normal function, increasing their ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.

How to quit smoking

The best way to stop smoking is to take action right now. Dispose of all materials and items associated with a cigarette from your surroundings and also avoid places, people or any event that is associated with smoking.

Keeping yourself busy by engaging yourself in doing something productive all day can help your mind distract you from the thought of smoking and can kill the urge of it. Initially, you can try talking to a doctor for medications that can assist you to stop the smoking habit.

Exercising regularly will not just help you quit smoking but also will help in countering erectile dysfunction by boosting the testosterone levels in the body.


A romantic relationship that is comfortable and rewarding begins with good health. Various causes, such as age and the existence of a health condition, may cause erectile dysfunction, which is one of the most common sexual health conditions in men. Studies have demonstrated over and over again, though, that smoking can also contribute to ED. To cut your risk or improve your chance of recovering from this debilitating condition, STOP SMOKING TODAY. Not only will it protect you from ED, but its amazing benefits to your reproductive health will also make your intimate life much, much better.

The Erectile Dysfunction caused by smoking can be treated by oral medications and other treatment methods available. Consulting a doctor surely helps erectile dysfunction caused by smoking. Many men are reluctant to discuss erectile dysfunction with their doctors. But don’t let embarrassment keep you from getting help. Just taking this step will get them on their way to recover not only their sex life but their relationship as well. They need not worry about their privacy as clinics like “The ED Clinic”  take full care to make sure all privacy details are just that- Private.