Association between smoking, passive smoking, and erectile dysfunction: results from the Boston Area Community Health (BACH) Survey

Eur Urol. 2007 Aug;52(2):416-22. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2007.03.015. Epub 2007 Mar 16.


Introduction: Although previous studies report an association between erectile dysfunction (ED) and smoking, few have examined the impact of passive smoke exposure on ED. This analysis examines the association of active and passive smoking and ED and investigates a dose-response effect of smoking.

Methods: The Boston Area Community Heath (BACH) survey is a study of urologic symptoms in a racially and ethnically diverse population. BACH used a multistage stratified random sample to recruit 2301 men, aged 30-79 yr, from the city of Boston. ED was assessed using the five-item International Index of Erectile Function. Smoking and passive smoking were assessed by self-report. Analyses adjusted for sociodemographic and lifestyle factors and important chronic illnesses.

Results: An association between smoking and ED was observed with a significant trend in increased risk of ED with cumulative pack-years of smoking (adjusted odds ratio [OR]=1.68; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.03, 2.30 for > or =20 pack-years). Compared to never smokers not exposed to passive smoking, men who never smoked but were exposed to passive smoking had a moderate, statistically nonsignificant, increase in risk of ED (adjusted OR=1.33; 95%CI: 0.69, 2.55) comparable to the OR observed for a cumulative exposure of 10-19 pack-years of active smoking (adjusted OR=1.25; 95%CI, 0.68, 2.30).

Conclusions: Results indicate a dose-response association between smoking and ED with a statistically significant effect observed with > or =20 pack-years of exposure. Passive smoking is associated with a small, statistically nonsignificant increase in risk of ED comparable to approximately 10-19 pack-years of active smoking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blacks / statistics & numerical data
  • Boston / epidemiology
  • Erectile Dysfunction / epidemiology
  • Erectile Dysfunction / etiology*
  • Health Surveys
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / statistics & numerical data
  • Urination Disorders / epidemiology
  • Whites / statistics & numerical data


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution