Smoking and erectile dysfunction: findings from a representative sample of Australian men

Tob Control. 2006 Apr;15(2):136-9. doi: 10.1136/tc.2005.015545.


Objectives: To examine whether there is an association between smoking and erectile dysfunction in a representative sample of Australian men.

Design: Secondary analysis of cross-sectional survey data from the Australian Study of Health and Relationships.

Participants: 8367 Australian men aged 16-59 years.

Main outcome measures: Erectile dysfunction was identified in men who reported having had trouble keeping an erection when they wanted to, a problem which persisted for at least one month over the previous year. Variables examined in multivariate logistic regression analyses included age, education, presence of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and current alcohol and tobacco consumption.

Results: Almost one in 10 of the respondents (9.1%) reported erectile dysfunction that lasted for at least one month over the previous year. More than a quarter (27.2%) of respondents were current smokers, with 20.9% smoking < or = 20 cigarettes per day, and 6.3% smoking > 20 cigarettes per day. Compared with non-smokers, the adjusted odds ratios for erectile dysfunction were 1.24 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01 to 1.52, p = 0.04) for those smoking < or = 20 cigarettes per day and 1.39 (95% CI 1.05 to 1.83, p = 0.02) for those smoking > 20 cigarettes per day, after adjusting for other confounding factors. Older age, low level of education, and taking medications for cardiovascular disease were also independently and positively associated with erectile dysfunction. In contrast, moderate alcohol consumption (1-4 drinks per day) significantly reduced the likelihood of having erectile dysfunction.

Conclusions: Erectile dysfunction is a significant health concern affecting around one in 10 Australian men aged 16-59 years. Current smoking is significantly associated with erectile dysfunction in Australian males. This association was strengthened as the number of cigarettes smoked increased. Health promotion programmes could use the link between smoking and erectile dysfunction to help reduce smoking levels among men.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy
  • Educational Status
  • Erectile Dysfunction / epidemiology
  • Erectile Dysfunction / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance / methods
  • Regression Analysis
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors