Smoking can affect a man’s ability to get an erection. Men who smoke are twice as likely as men who do not smoke to have erectile dysfunction. So maybe you don’t have any problem getting an erection now. It could be soon, because when tested 86% of men who smoke have an abnormal penile vascular function.
The effects of smoking on the penis are multi-factorial. They can be caused acutely, by not being able to have an erection immediately after smoking, or from chronic changes in the blood supply to a man’s penis. Smoking affects the ability of blood vessels to allow blood flow into the penis, thereby, decreasing the ability of the man who smokes to have an erection. It also can cause structural changes in the muscle of the penis, decreasing its ability to respond to blood flow.
Initially, erectile dysfunction from smoking can be reversible, however, the longer a man smokes, the more likely the changes that have happened in his penis are likely to stay, even if he stops smoking. In one study, 25% of men who stopped smoking had improvement in their erections. None of the men who continued to smoke had any improvement.
The likelihood of having erectile dysfunction increases with smoking and exposure to second hand smoke. The more exposure to second hand smoke, the more likely he is to have erectile dysfunction.
Men might think that there are many medications available now to help with erectile dysfunction. Unfortunately, men with erectile dysfunction caused from smoking are less likely to have a response to those medications.
Erectile dysfunction is often a warning of other vascular and cardiac problems. So, for both your heart and your heart throb, stop smoking.Dr. Richard D. Hurt is an internationally recognized expert on tobacco dependence. A native of Murray, Kentucky, he joined Mayo Clinic in 1976 and is now a Professor of Medicine at its College of Medicine. In 1988, he founded the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center and since then its staff has treated more than 50,000 patients for tobacco dependence. Send your questions directly to Dr. Hurt at AskTheExpert@becomeanex.org