Tobacco Smoking and Virility

Cigarettes and Erectile Dysfunction

In some ways smoking still retains an association with a “bad boy” image, and cigarette advertising (now largely gone in Canada) in the 20th century often associated smoking with being tough or manly. Think of the Marlboro Man – the iconic cowboy image used to promote Marlboro cigarettes.

Recent research has linked tobacco use with reduced virility.

Men who smoke can be less able to attain full erections, and those who stop smoking can lower their risk of erectile dysfunction.

The Recent Research

Several studies clearly link cigarette smoking with erectile dysfunction in men.

Association between smoking and erectile dysfunction: A population-based study

In this study, the association between smoking and erectile dysfunction was evaluated in a cohort of 2,115 Caucasian men, aged 40–79 years, randomly selected from Olmsted County, Minnesota.

Of the 1,329 men with a regular sexual partner, 173 were current smokers, 836 had previously smoked, and 203 reported erectile dysfunction. Compared with former and never smokers, current smokers in their forties had the greatest relative odds of erectile dysfunction.

Interestingly, former smokers were also found to have a higher risk of ED compared to those who had never smoked – and this risk increased based on the amount they used to smoke.

Erectile dysfunction and smoking clinic in Vancouver

Association between smoking cessation and sexual health in men

In this study men’s erectile response was objectively measured before, during, and after a smoking cessation program.

Intent‐to‐treat analyses indicated that, at follow‐up, successful quitters (n= 20), compared with those who relapsed (n= 45), showed enhanced erectile tumescence responses, and faster onset to reach maximum subjective sexual arousal.

Simply put, it looks like quitting smoking can lead to faster and harder erections. These could come in handy.

Do cigarette smokers with erectile dysfunction benefit from stopping?: A prospective study

These researchers worked with smokers who requested nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and complained of ED over a year.

The severity of ED correlated significantly with the level of exposure to smoking. Age and ED status before the follow‐up were not significantly different between 118 patients who stopped (ex‐smokers) and 163 who continued smoking (current smokers).

After 1 year the ED status improved in ≥ 25% of ex‐smokers but in none of the current smokers; 2.5% of ex‐smokers and 6.8% of current smokers had a deterioration in ED. Ex‐smokers had a significantly better ED status after the follow‐up. Among ex‐smokers, patients with advanced ED and those who were older had less improvement.

This study shows a strong association between the intensity of cigarette smoking and degree of ED. Stopping cigarette smoking can improve ED in a considerable proportion of smokers. Age and the severity of ED before stopping are inversely related to the chance of improvement.

Is Smoking Sexy?

Based on the evidence, it looks like smoking is pretty much the opposite of sexy.

Men who smoke are about twice as likely to develop ED as nonsmokers. Smoking hampers circulation to all areas of the body, including the genitals, making it tougher to get and keep an erection.

Most women prefer a non-smoking man, although there are some who fetishize smoking. In a survey of 1,000 singles, researchers found that 70 per cent of women are repelled by those who smoke and 56 per cent said they wouldn’t date a smoker.

It looks like non-smokers have an advantage in both physical ability to perform sexually and in women’s perception of their attractiveness as potential partners.

Marlboro man erectile dysfunction from smoking

Conclusion – Don’t Smoke for Maximum Virility

Once you quit smoking, your health starts to improve immediately. Your blood pressure improves. Your chance of a heart attack goes down. Most importantly for ED prevention, your circulation begins to improve within 2 to 12 weeks.

Studies demonstrate that non-smokers have better erections, and get fully hard faster – without any decline in how long an erection can last.

The Marlboro man is gone, and it is clear that that is a good thing for men’s sexual health.


Do cigarette smokers with erectile dysfunction benefit from stopping?: a prospective study
Gholamreza Pourmand, Mohammad Reza Alidaee, Sohrab Rasuli, Ameneh Maleki, Abdolrasoul Mehrsai
First published: 06 December 2004

Association between Smoking and Erectile Dysfunction: A Population-based Study
Naomi M. Gades, Ajay Nehra, Debra J. Jacobson, Michaela E. McGree, Cynthia J. Girman, Thomas Rhodes, Rosebud O. Roberts, Michael M. Lieber, Steven J. Jacobsen
American Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 161, Issue 4, 15 February 2005, Pages 346–351,
Published: 15 February 2005

Association between smoking cessation and sexual health in men
Christopher B. Harte, Cindy M. Meston
First published: 23 August 2011

Smoking Fetishes Examined: A brief look at capnolagnia
Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D.
Posted Jul 13, 2017