Smoking increases your chances of experiencing erectile dysfunction.
just the facts
About 30 million American men suffer from ED regularly; most of them are older men, but younger men can have erectile dysfunction, too. (1)
men who smoke are about twice as likely as men who don't smoke to suffer from ED and impotence. (2)
Sources 1. Tengs TO, Osgood ND. The link between smoking and impotence: two decades of evidence. Preventive Medicine 2001;32:447-452. 2. McVary MT, Carrier S, Wessels H; Subcommittee on Smoking and Erectile Dysfunction Socioeconomic Committee, Sexual Medicine Society of North America. Smoking and erectile dysfunction: evidence based analysis. Journal of Urology 2001;166:1624-1632.
"Erectile dysfunction," or "ED," is when a man can't get or keep an erection that is hard enough or lasts long enough for him to have sex. It is also called impotence. This condition affects practically every man once in a while, but when it happens often or every time, it is a real medical problem and certainly affects the quality of the man's life. About 30 million American men suffer from ED regularly; most of them are older men, but younger men can have erectile dysfunction, too. (1)
Smoking increases your chances of experiencing erectile dysfunction. Indeed, men who smoke are about twice as likely as men who don't smoke to suffer from ED and impotence. (2) The longer you smoke, and the more cigarettes you smoke, the more likely you are to develop erectile dysfunction.
A few years ago, the California Department of Health Services ran a series of anti-smoking TV commercials to teach men about this hazard of smoking. In the commercials, cigarettes would go limp when the men smoking them saw an attractive woman. The commercials were funny. The problem isn't.
Scientists believe that smoking may increase a man's risk of erectile dysfunction by damaging the blood vessels of the penis. Smoking is bad for your arteries, and it worsens the disease of the arteries called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis can affect the arteries that supply blood to the penis, just as it affects the arteries that supply blood to the heart, brain, and other parts of the body. When the arteries that supply blood to the penis don't work as well as they should, a man may not be able to get an erection.
It is uncertain whether quitting smoking can prevent erectile dysfunction or make the problem get better if a man already has it. In some studies of relatively young men with erectile dysfunction, quitting smoking seemed to be helpful. In other studies, however, which mostly involved older men, quitting didn't seem to help. If a man has smoked for many years, the damage to his arteries may be so extensive that the problem can't be resolved by giving up cigarettes late in life. So the best way to reduce your risk of getting erectile dysfunction is to never start smoking at all or to kick the habit as soon as possible if you already smoke.