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    Is there a link between vaping and erectile dysfunction?

    On this page
    1. I vape. Am I at risk of ED?
    2. The risks of vaping vs smoking
    3. Other ways to quit smoking 
    4. Help with erectile dysfunction

    Reviewed by our clinical team

    Vape

    In November 2021, an American study was published examining the link between vaping – specifically, using electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) – and erectile dysfunction.

    The data was gathered from a general survey on tobacco use and health, and paid particular attention to men aged 20-65 with no previous history of cardiovascular disease. Within this group, it was found that daily ENDS users (i.e. men who vape) were 2.4 times more likely to report erectile dysfunction than men who had never vaped.

    The people who carried out the study have theorised that the cause of this could be related to nicotine’s effect on blood flow. However, they emphasised that this link is yet to be proven, and that more research needs to be carried out.  

    I vape. Am I at risk of ED?

    The study described above suggests that there could be a clear link between vaping and ED, so it is possible!

    If you’re concerned that you might start experiencing ED, the safest thing to do is to stop vaping – and, if necessary, use nicotine replacement therapy in the short term to cope with withdrawal and cravings. 

    If you’re already experiencing ED – i.e. you struggle to achieve or maintain erections – you should speak to a doctor. Your impotence may be caused by an underlying health condition that needs medical attention and treatment. Your doctor may prescribe medication and recommend some lifestyle changes, including quitting vaping.

    The risks of vaping vs smoking

    Overall, the risks of vaping are much smaller when compared to the risks of smoking cigarettes – in fact, vaping is estimated to be 95% less harmful than smoking. 

    When the tobacco in cigarettes is burnt it releases toxic chemicals such as carbon monoxide and tar, as well as nicotine (which creates the addiction). E-cigarettes and other vape devices tend to contain nicotine, but are free from the most harmful chemicals contained in tobacco.

    However, vaping is not completely without its risks. Although nicotine is considered mostly safe, it is known to raise your blood pressure and adrenaline levels. According to the study described in this article, it could also have an effect on blood supply to the penis.

    Even nicotine-free vaping is associated with some health risks. Vape liquid can contain lots of different chemicals, including vitamin E and diacetyl – both of which are known to irritate the lungs when inhaled.

    In general, it’s important to keep in mind that because vaping is a relatively new trend, we still don’t know enough about how it affects the body in the long term. While we do know that it’s safer than smoking, it’s ideally something to use as a smoking cessation aid in the short term.

    In other words… 

    • If you’ve never smoked before, you shouldn’t take up vaping 
    • If you’re trying to quite smoking, you should start vaping with an end goal in mind: to reduce your dependence on nicotine and quit altogether! 

    Other ways to quit smoking 

    Vaping can be a good way to quit smoking, but it’s not the only option when it comes to smoking cessation. 

    Other options include: 

    • Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products like skin patches, chewing gum, lozenges and mouth sprays – these provide low levels of nicotine to help reduce cravings 
    • Bupropion (Zyban) – this medication is thought to work by affecting the parts of the brain associated with addiction

    NRT is available to buy in pharmacies like LloydsPharmacy and is also sometimes available on prescription from a GP or NHS stop smoking service. Bupropion is only available on prescription, from a GP. 

    Help with erectile dysfunction

    If you’ve landed here because you’re experiencing erectile dysfunction, help is at hand. ED is something experienced by lots of men, and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. The important thing is to get the help you need.

    If you haven’t already, book an appointment with your GP to discuss your symptoms and get some tests. As an alternative, you can start by filling out the ED consultation at our online clinic – one of our in-house clinicians will take a look at your confidential questionnaire and advise you on the best course of action, and whether you’re suitable for treatment with ED tablets.

    Looking for erectile dysfunction treatment?

    Use our online service


    References

    https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/e-cigarettes-men-vaping-erectile-dysfunction-b1967593.html
    https://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797(21)00429-3/fulltext
    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/erection-problems-erectile-dysfunction/
    https://patient.info/news-and-features/the-truth-about-vaping
    https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/5-truths-you-need-to-know-about-vaping
    https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/what-does-vaping-do-to-your-lungs  

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