Vaping can double your risk of ED — even if you’re young

This study (and vaping itself, apparently) is a huge boner-killer.

photograph of a cactus growing flaccid; it shows the shape of a penis, which brings erectile dysfunc...
by ana gassent/Moment/Getty Images
Originally Published: 

There are several reasons why someone want to stop vaping. For one, the claims about how vaping helps people quit nicotine altogether have been exaggerated. But for people with penises, the stakes have just gotten higher: A recent study found that even young men who vaped nicotine were more than twice as likely to experience erectile dysfunction than the rest of us, according to CNN.

The study analyzed data from a study that surveyed 45,971 American men between the ages of 20 and 65. In short, participants were asked about the specifics of their vaping habit and about their ability to get and stay hard when sexually aroused. The authors of the study adjusted the results for people with variables (other known factors that lead to erectile dysfunction, including cigarette smoking, cardiovascular disease and diabetes). Even then, the results painted a bleak picture for the sex lives of vapers of all ages who were twice as likely to report ED than those who don’t vape and three times more likely if they also had heart issues.

There are many potential reasons that the e-cig is flattening folx’s phalluses. For one, many vapes contain high levels of nicotine, sometimes more than actual cigarettes, on top of being packed with refill liquids that could be messing with testosterone levels, according to the study.

“Nicotine and other chemicals in vapes can reduce the ability of arteries to get larger and dilated, and that is what causes erectile dysfunction,” Ahmad Besaratinia, a professor of research population and public health sciences in the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, told CNN. “These chemicals can also depress testosterone levels, another main cause of ED."

Long story short, this isn’t rocket science. Boners happen when blood rushes into the penis before the veins that drain the blood out of the penis collapse in order to prevent the blood from flowing back out, according to the University of Iowa. This is what keeps someone erect, and chemicals like nicotine constrict blood vessels and can disrupt the whole process.

As always, there are some things to keep in mind when thinking about the results of this study: Most of the men in the study were cis, straight, and white. Erectile dysfunction was mostly reported by those who vaped often, so people who vape once in a while probably won’t have these issues. On top of that, men who exercised regularly reported experiencing less instances of ED.

While I was just as excited as the next person at the promise of e-cigs a few years ago, we definitely have enough information at this point to know that it’s not the solution we had hoped for. It’s time we face the hard, or I guess it’s the flaccid, truth.