Does smoking menthol cigarettes cause erectile dysfunction?




Lots of people tell me if I smoke menthol cigarettes that I can have a loss of an erection ? Is it true or not?

It appears that for many years there has been a rumor that menthol cigarettes are more harmful than non-menthol brands. I suspect that this rumor has its roots in brand loyalty because, other than taste, both types are equally bad for a person's health. But truth rarely stops rumors. For years there has been a persistent rumor in Thailand (where 90% of the men smoke) that menthol cigarettes makes a man impotent (have difficulties having sex or conceiving a child). The actual truth is that research shows 2.2% of non-smokers are impotent, but 3.7% of smokers are impotent. There is also research showing that smoking lowers a man's sperm count.

A 2003 survey of men in China found:

  • Men who smoked more than 20 cigarettes daily had a 60% higher risk of erectile dysfunction, compared to men who never smoked.
  • 15% of the past and present smokers had experienced erectile dysfunction.
  • Men who currently - and formerly -- smoked were about 30% more likely to suffer from impotence.
  • Among men who had never smoked, 12% had erection problems.

[Source: Smoking Can Lead to Erectile Dysfunction, WebMD]

Therefore, it is not the type of cigarettes that should be a concern but the fact that smoking tobacco causes fertility problems, including the inability to have or maintain an erection. Such is common sense. Nicotine in tobacco causes the blood vessels to constrict. Erections occur by blood flowing into the penis faster than it leaves. Reduce the flow of blood into the penis and you can't gain or maintain an erection.

Does every man who smokes have these problems? No, smoking just increases the possibility. But what you really should be asking is why smoke in the first place? We know it causes all sorts of health issues. Impotency is just one of many. See "What is wrong with smoking?"

See also:

Questions and Answers regarding Smoking