At some point in their lives, most men will experience some form of erectile dysfunction (ED). Chronic ED impacts around one in 20 men under 40 years old, and 15% of men at 70. Meanwhile, mild to moderate ED can impact as many as 10% of men per decade of life (i.e. 40% of men aged 40, 50% of men aged 50 etc, 60% of men aged 60.)[1]

Smoking is another key health concern in the UK. As many as 14.4% of UK adults are currently classified as smokers.[2] This is significant, as smoking plays a part in many of the most serious medical conditions, including cancer, heart disease, lung disease, osteoporosis, stroke and infertility.[3]

But is there a link between ED and smoking? Could smoking actually be at the root of your ED concerns?

What is erectile dysfunction?

Most men occasionally fail to achieve or maintain an erection during sexual activity, and this usually caused by stress, anxiety, tiredness or drinking too much. In these instances, this is generally nothing to worry about. However, if it happens frequently, it can be a sign of a wider case of ED.[4] Chronic ED can occur as a result of numerous factors, both physical and emotional, such as depression.[5]

The relationship between smoking and erectile dysfunction

Until around 20 years ago, ED was thought to be primarily caused by psychological factors. However, we now know that there are many physical factors at play too, including injury, hormonal conditions, anatomical conditions and surgery, to name a few.[6] One of the most prevalent physical causes of erectile dysfunction is a narrowing of the blood vessels going to the penis.[7]

This is where smoking comes in. Smoking can damage the lining of the blood vessels over time, preventing them from working at their maximum capacity.[8] This means that smoking can potentially have a direct impact on your likelihood of experiencing ED.

Research shows there likely is a connection

There has been a great deal of research into the connection between ED and smoking, and the results revealing that there is a link between the two factors.

One 2008 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found strong parallels between smoking and ED — concluding that long-term smoking can detrimentally impact blood flow and blood vessels to the point where ED becomes more likely to occur.[9]

Furthermore, a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that ED was more likely to occur in men who smoked compared to those who never did.[10] Meanwhile another study, carried out in 2004, found the severity of ED corresponded significantly with the level of exposure to smoking.[11]

So what does this research tell us? It suggests that, if you’re a smoker suffering from ED, quitting smoking could reduce your symptoms. Thankfully, there is tried and tested medication which can help you achieve this.

Whether you’re looking for smoking cessation medication like Champix or erectile dysfunction treatment, Express Pharmacy has a range of safe and effective options available. Get in touch with our pharmacists today and get the support you need. Simply call 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet online Live Chat service.

[1] UW Health. Erectile Dysfunction (ED). School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin, Madison. 2019

[2] NHS UK. Statistics on Smoking, England. 2019

[3] Smokefree by NHS. How smoking affects your body. 2018

[4] NHS UK. Erectile dysfunction (importence). 2017

[5] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Symptoms & Causes of Erectile Dysfunction. 2017

[6] Sexual Advice Association. Erectile Dysfunction. 2016

[7] NHS Inform. Erectile dysfunction (impotence). 2020

[8] National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Smoking and Your Heart.2018

[9] Tostes, RC, PhD. et al. Cigarette Smoking and Erectile Dysfunction: Focus on NO Bioavailability and ROS Generation. The Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2008

[10] Gades, NM. et al. Association between Smoking and Erectile Dysfunction: A Population-based Study, American Journal of Epidemiology. 2005

[11] Pourmand, G. et al. Do cigarette smokers with erectile dysfunction benefit from stopping?: a prospective study. BJU International. 2004