Study Links Vaping to Erectile Dysfunction

Source: Freepik

Compared to people who never used electronic cigarettes, vaping doubles the risk of erectile dysfunction among men.

The use of electronic cigarettes or vapes is on the rise among both teens and adults. According to a recent survey by the FDA and CDC, more than 2 million US teens use e-cigarettes. Moreover, 85% of these teens report using flavoured vapes. Although vaping is often advertised as a smoking-cessation aid, it can cause a wide variety of abnormalities. In the past, vaping has caused cardiovascular complications and lung injury among users. Now, researchers have found a link between vaping and erectile dysfunction (ED).

Recently, researchers from NYU Grossman School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine conducted a population-based study on the association between ED and e-cigarettes. The team used data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study. More than 13,000 US men over the age of 20 answered questions regarding ED, their tobacco use, and their history of chronic diseases.

Given that many people use e-cigarettes as a form of smoking harm reduction or to help them with smoking cessation, we need to fully investigate the relationship between vaping products and erectile dysfunction, and potential implications for men’s sexual health.

Dr. Omar El Shahawy, lead author

Double the Risk

Results showed that 20% of the study participants experienced some level of erectile dysfunction. Moreover, daily users had a 2.4 times higher risk than those who had never vaped.

The team of researchers then conducted another analysis on a smaller sample consisting of men aged 20 to 65 with no history of ED risk factors. Approximately, 10.2% of these participants reported having erectile dysfunction. Moreover, e-cigarette users had a 2.2 times higher risk than those who never vaped.

We excluded people with high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease, which is a big reason for ED, and we excluded those with a history of smoking. We adjusted for all that and still we found a very strong and significant association between vaping and ED.

Dr. Omar El Shahawy, lead author

According to study authors, the nicotine present in vapes causes vasodilation; thus, causing erectile dysfunction. The greater the exposure to nicotine, the higher the risk. Although many vapes are labelled nicotine-free, they may still contain traces of nicotine. Moreover, newer vapes deliver higher levels of nicotine than cigarettes. Therefore, study authors believe vaper users be made aware of the potential complications associated with vaping.


El-Shahawy, Omar, et al. “Association of e-Cigarettes with Erectile Dysfunction: The Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2021, doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2021.08.004.


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