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Erectile Dysfunction
and Smoking

You'd have to live on a desert Island not to be aware of the health risks of smoking. In fact, every packet of cigarettes in the UK carries a health warning by law.

But very little is discussed about the dramatic link between moderate smoking and Erectile Dysfunction. Male smokers are a whopping 40% more likely to develop erectile dysfunction than non-smokers.

More worryingly, if they develop ED they develop it at a much, much earlier age.




If you are a smoker and have developed ED, we have treatments that can reverse this.

Contact us now for a FREE 20 minute phone consultation or carry on reading to find out more.




 a pensive man staring off into the distance sitting at a desk with coffee

a man snapping a cigarette in half

The mechanics of a drag

Let's consider what happens when you fully inhale a cigarette.

Around 5,000 alien chemical substances enter your body in a single puff.

Within less than 10 seconds, these substances enter your blood stream and nicotine triggers Dopamine and endorphins, creating pleasure to your brain. But the pleasure felt is acutely balanced by the havoc caused elsewhere in your blood stream, not just in your penis, but throughout your body.

Your body is full of blood vessels which carry valuable nutrients to feed your body. These blood vessels also play a crucial role in having erections - They dilute and expand to allow a rush of blood into the penis, which causes it to become hard and erect.

The nicotine and other chemicals damage the endothelium lining of each blood vessels, both hardening and thickening them and restricting their ability to expand and contract. The chemicals further cause blood vessels to narrow causing plaque and blockages. So, without fully functioning blood vessels in your penis, your ability to have a substantial erection will decline until you can no longer enjoy penetrative sex.

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a crushed cigarette on top of a stone wall

Erectile Dysfunction and Smoking and Nitric Oxide

Nitric oxide is an important molecule required for overall health and its most important function is vasodilation. Vasodilation relaxes the inner muscles of the blood vessels, causing them to widen and increase circulation and enables you to enjoy a satisfactory erection. Nitric Oxide is usually generated with the help of three enzyme isoforms which are called Nitric Oxide Synthases or NOS.

These three vital NOS are known as endothelial, neuronal and, inducible. The endothelial and neuronal Nitric Oxide isoforms are negatively affected due to smoking.

Cigarette consumption not only reduces the level of activity of these isoforms it also decreases the level of free Nitric Oxide in the corpora cavernosa which are the two tubes inside the penis which fill up with blood, enabling you to have an erection.

This occurs because of the increased presence of superoxide anions which are produced by the metabolites of smoking. Metabolites of cigarette smoking disrupts the balance between oxidation and antioxidation reactions, resulting in increased levels of superoxide anions. These superoxide anions decrease the vasoactive availability of Nitric Oxide. Moreover, Rho-associated kinase or ROK works to maintain the flaccid state of penis, as it regulates the sensitivity of calcium contractibility in the smooth muscle cell.

Nitric Oxide averts ROK to create the erection. But the reduced level of NO fails to inhibit ROK and this mechanism can worsen the ED situation.

One of the approaches we use at MansMatters is a programme of recommendations, supplements to take and foods to eat that can improve your NO levels.

Smoking can also cause Erectile Dysfunction by developing other problematic medical conditions in the body. People who smoke are more likely to develop conditions such as atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases than non-smokers do. Conditions such as these, can damage erectile function by increasing the time it takes for men to get a satisfactory erection while simultaneously decreasing the firmness of an erect penis making it difficult to enjoy a rapid spontaneous erection and ease of penetration into the vagina.

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Other Conditions Caused by Smoking That Can Cause ED

Smoking can also increase the chances of getting type-2 diabetes and, diabetes is one of the major causes of Erectile Dysfunction. That's why diabetic patients have significantly higher chance of experiencing ED than people who don't have this disease.

  • What's more, smoking can cause your blood pressure to rise. Smokers usually suffer from high blood pressure or arterial hypertension and high blood pressure is one of the known causes of ED. Arterial hypertension restricts the body's ability to circulate blood within the various parts of the body, including penile tissues.
  • Cigarette smoking can activate and increase sympathetic activity within the body. Increased levels of sympathetic activity are responsible for the generation of mental stress – another factor in the onset of ED.
  • Testosterone hormone is one of the most fundamental hormones for healthy erectile function in men. Smoking affects the sexual function of men by decreasing testosterone hormone levels. Men who smoke are found to have lower levels of testosterone in their bodies than men who don't smoke or have quit smoking for good. Men with higher testosterone have a greater urge to have sex than those with low testosterone. This hormone also has an impact on the functionality of Nitric Oxide (see above).
  • The damage caused by smoking in erectile function also depends on the intensity of the cigarette consumption. The effects of smoking will be less on a moderate smoker, whereas a heavy smoker consuming 20+ cigarettes per day, is asking for problems.

In a study published in PLOS ONE, (hyperlink: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3616119/ ) the results from prospective cohort studies suggested that the risk of ED was increased by 51% for current smokers and 20% for ex-smokers.

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Erectile Dysfunction and Smoking – The Good News

The good news for smokers is that the body is resilient. Whilst long term damage can be done, the body will fight to recover within hours of you quitting smoking for good.

We know that the average smoker tries to quit smoking 10-times before they finally succeed, at which time they may need some help.

Many men who have quit smoking experience a tremendous boost in their sexual function. But the positive effect in sexual function of quitting smoking may not be felt right away and the time for improvement will vary. For heavy smokers, the recovery period may be longer than for men that have only smoked for a short period of time.

Quitting smoking, like all addictive habits, is hard and requires a strong mindset. Your body will continue to signal the craving for nicotine for some time. You could try various techniques to overcome these cravings by engaging yourself in other activities such as exercising or reading books, etc. Whenever you feel the urge to smoke, you need to divert your mind and focus on other activities which gradually minimise the cravings over a period of time.

For men that have quit smoking and suffer erectile dysfunction, focused shockwave therapy is a proven method to repair and generate new blood vessels and rejuvenate nerve tissues. This allows them to enjoy spontaneous erections and enjoy satisfactory sexual intercourse once again.

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Erectile Dysfunction and Smoking FAQ's

Is Smoking a Major Cause Of ED?

According to various medical studies, smoking is one of the major factors for ED developing in men. Men who smoke are more likely to develop and experience ED in their lifetime, than those who don’t smoke.

Is ED Caused by Smoking Common in Men?

ED can be brought on by a number of factors, smoking is one of them. According to various research conducted on this subject, the number of ED patients who smoke is much higher than patients who don’t smoke.

How Does Smoking Cause ED?

Metabolites of cigarettes damage the blood vessels which carry blood throughout the body including penile tissues. Proper blood flow within the penis is essential in order to create strong erections. Smoking also causes Nitric Oxide deficiency, which is crucial for proper erectile function. Testosterone deficiency can also be caused by smoking, and a lack of testosterone can facilitate low libido in men which in turn can result in ED. These are some of the major ways ED can occur due to smoking.

Does Smoking Have Other Consequences That May Lead To ED?

Smoking generally has a number of physical consequences that are detrimental to overall health. For example, heart issues, high blood pressure, diabetes etc. All of these health conditions are known factors for inducing ED. Men who suffer from these issues are more likely to experience ED than men who have better general health.

Are The Numbers of Cigarettes Smoked Related to The Possibility of Experiencing ED?

Multiple studies have found that, men who are heavy smokers, are more likely to experience ED than those, who are moderate to light smokers. It is evident that the chances of suffering ED increase significantly when a man smokes more and more cigarettes. Heavy smoking is also positively correlated with the severity of ED in men.

Will Quitting Smoking Improve My ED?

Once you quit smoking, your body will start to heal on its own. And eventually you may experience a much better erectile function. But the recovery time depends on your smoking habit. If you smoked for a long period of a time, then your body will take more time to heal.

How Do I Quit Smoking To Improve My Erectile Function?

Quitting smoking is very hard, as it is one of the most addictive habits that you can develop. Self-motivation and mental strength are required to quit smoking. Whenever you feel the urge to smoke, you need to divert your mind off cigarettes by engaging in other activities.

Is There Any Hope for Me If I Smoke and Have ED?

Erectile dysfunction and smoking is a big problem, but there is always hope. First of all, you need to commit to quit smoking. You may not be able to do this overnight but gradually you need to get there. Plus, there are many treatments available for ED. ED is certainly curable for the large proportion of men. Our non-invasive treatments are very effective in treating this sexual disorder in men of most ages.

Do You Treat ED In Patients Who Have Smoked?

Yes, we do. We have come across a number of patients who had a smoking habit or still smoke. With our holistic approach, we have been able to treat them effectively.

What Treatment Do You Recommend for ED Patients Who Smoke?

Focused shockwave therapy is probably the best ED treatment anyone can get right now, regardless of the fact that patients have a smoking habit or not. It’s a revolutionary non-invasive technology which generates new blood vessels inside the penile tissues and increases the flow of the blood. We have been able to treat many patients who smoked, using this procedure.




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