Smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes can increase the risk of erectile dysfunction (ED). Vaping may produce a similar effect, regardless of whether the fluid contains nicotine or is nicotine-free. More research is necessary.

Smoking cigarettes can increase the risk of ED. But it’s unclear whether vaping has a similar effect, particularly because one vape can contain different ingredients from another.

Nicotine may be a particularly problematic ingredient, as it’s also present in traditional tobacco cigarettes.

Many e-cigarette fluids or vaping devices contain lower levels of cancer-causing substances than traditional cigarettes, so theoretically, the ED risk may be lower.

However, vaping can damage blood vessel lining, and research from a 2021 research review links this damage to ED.

While much more research is necessary on the topic, a few studies on vaping and ED are available.

In one 2022 study, e-cigarette users were 2.4 times more likely to report ED than people who had never vaped. Risk factors like age and heart disease did not appear to affect this link.

Vapes may have lower levels of chemicals that may contribute to ED compared with traditional cigarettes. But cigarettes and vapes can damage endothelial cells — the cells that line blood vessels — by causing oxidative stress.

This can affect nitric oxide (NO) levels and their signaling in the body. And this can be an issue as sufficient NO is necessary to produce an erection.

A vape that contains nicotine may also constrict blood vessels, limiting blood flow to the penis and potentially leading to ED.

As there isn’t much research into vaping and ED yet, it isn’t easy to answer.

Some ED medications can interact negatively with other medications.

So, it’s a good idea to speak with your prescribing healthcare professional and let them know your lifestyle habits, including what’s in the vape you smoke and other medications you take.

They can tell you whether it’s a good idea to stop something or swap to a different brand or type.

Quitting traditional cigarettes can improve ED by boosting blood circulation to the penis.

Younger people, people who don’t have other medical conditions, and people who haven’t smoked long may experience a more significant improvement in symptoms.

So, theoretically, quitting vaping may also help in the ED department. But there’s no guarantee it can help or completely reverse the condition.

More severe cases of ED may require other treatments.

A healthcare professional can then prescribe a suitable form of treatment by figuring out what causes or contributes to ED.

Sometimes, they can suggest lifestyle changes such as trying to stop smoking or vaping, reducing alcohol consumption, eating a more balanced diet, and exercising regularly.

Counseling is also an option if the ED links to stress or mental health conditions like anxiety.

Medication may be necessary. Several pills can help improve ED symptoms by encouraging blood flow to the penis. These include:

As these medications can interact with other drugs and supplements, it’s important to let your healthcare professional know about anything else you take. They may need to change the dose or type of medication.

An injectable medication is now available, too. Called alprostadil, it’s injectable straight into the penis so that it fills with blood, resulting in an extremely quick erection.

This type of medication also comes in the form of a suppository, which is insertable into the urethra, where it dissolves. An erection then takes up to 10 minutes to occur.

Surgery involving a doctor inserting an implant or rebuilding arteries are also options that may help people with ED. However, doctors usually consider these after you try other treatments.

Experts share that smoking can contribute to ED. Although some see vapes as less harmful than cigarettes, the substances they contain may damage cells and restrict blood flow to the penis.

But vaping is relatively new. So, the topic needs a lot more research (both short-term and long-term) before they can make definitive conclusions.

Lauren Sharkey is a U.K.-based journalist and author specializing in women’s issues. When she isn’t trying to discover a way to banish migraines, she can be found uncovering the answers to your lurking health questions. She has also written a book profiling young female activists across the globe and is currently building a community of such resisters. Catch her on Twitter.