Smoking can cause erectile dysfunction (ED). This is because the toxic substances in tobacco can narrow your blood vessels. This makes it more difficult for blood to flow to your penis, so you may struggle to get or keep an erection.1
Smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products also puts you at an increased risk of health conditions that can cause erectile dysfunction.1These include:
If you have erectile dysfunction and you smoke, the best thing you can do is to quit smoking. One study found that over 50% of men with erectile dysfunction who smoked saw improvements after 6 months of not smoking.1
Whether erectile dysfunction caused by smoking can be reversed also depends on your age. If you quit before middle age and don’t start smoking again, you are less likely to have continued erectile dysfunction.1
E-cigarette vapour contains nicotine, even though it doesn’t contain the other dangerous chemicals that are in cigarette smoke. Many people use vaping as a less harmful alternative to smoking tobacco.7
Nicotine causes your blood vessels to narrow, so vaping may still make you more likely to have erectile dysfunction. More research still needs to be done to know the full effects.8
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1. Kovac JR, Labbate C, Ramasamy R, Tang D, Lipshultz LI. Effects of cigarette smoking on erectile dysfunction. Andrologia. 2015;47(10):1087-1092. doi:10.1111/and.12393
2. What are the health risks of smoking? nhs.uk. Published June 26, 2018. Accessed July 27, 2023. https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/lifestyle/what-are-the-health-risks-of-smoking/
3. Madan R, Dracham CB, Khosla D, Goyal S, Yadav AK. Erectile dysfunction and cancer: current perspective. Radiat Oncol J. 2020;38(4):217-225. doi:10.3857/roj.2020.00332
4. Jackson G. Erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular disease. Arab J Urol. 2013;11(3):212-216. doi:10.1016/j.aju.2013.03.003
5. Benaragama KS, Singh AA, Taj T, Hague J, Boyle JR, Richards T. Erectile Dysfunction in Peripheral Vascular Disease: Endovascular Revascularization as a Potential Therapeutic Target. Vasc Endovascular Surg. 2020;54(8):707-711. doi:10.1177/1538574420952923
6. Defeudis G, Mazzilli R, Tenuta M, et al. Erectile dysfunction and diabetes: A melting pot of circumstances and treatments. Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2022;38(2):e3494. doi:10.1002/dmrr.3494
7. Using e-cigarettes to stop smoking. nhs.uk. Published October 10, 2022. Accessed August 1, 2023. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/quit-smoking/using-e-cigarettes-to-stop-smoking/
8. El-Shahawy O, Shah T, Obisesan OH, et al. Association of E-Cigarettes With Erectile Dysfunction: The Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study. Am J Prev Med. 2022;62(1):26-38. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2021.08.004
Published: October 2023
Next review: October 2026
Reviewed by: Connie Whewall