E-Cigarette-Associated Endothelial Damage: A Potential Mechanism for Erectile Dysfunction

Sex Med Rev. 2022 Jan;10(1):168-173. doi: 10.1016/j.sxmr.2021.01.003. Epub 2021 Apr 27.


Introduction: Electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) have increased in popularity as a potentially less harmful alternative to tobacco smoking; however, the literature suggests "vaping" can cause endothelial damage, which can adversely affect erectile function. While there is a known link between smoking cigarettes and erectile dysfunction (ED), the effect of e-cigs on erectile function has been understudied.

Objectives: To review the evidence for e-cig use causing endothelial dysfunction, to explore endothelial dysfunction as a potential mechanism for ED, and to determine if there is literature to support e-cigs as a cause of ED.

Methods: A literature review was performed to identify publications pertaining to e-cig consumption and ED. Publications regarding e-cig consumption and vascular or endothelial damage were also included. The search was conducted through PubMed, MEDLINE database, the Cochrane Library Central Search, Web of Science, and Google Scholar. We identified 40+ publications for review, including 6 clinical trials and 3 basic science studies.

Results: The literature suggests that e-cig use induces oxidative stress, including the direct formation of reactive oxygen species and hydroxyl radicals, leading to endothelial damage. Endothelial dysfunction is a potential mechanism for ED, but there is a paucity of studies evaluating the relationship between e-cig use and ED.

Conclusion: E-cig use may cause ED in men, but more studies, specifically clinical trials, are needed to establish a relationship between e-cigs and ED. E-cig-induced endothelial dysfunction is a potential mechanism for ED that is worth exploring further. Pincus J, Sandoval V, Dick B, et al. E-Cigarette-Associated Endothelial Damage: A Potential Mechanism for Erectile Dysfunction. Sex Med Rev 2022;10:168-173.

Keywords: E-Cigs; Electronic Cigarettes; Endothelial Damage; Erectile Function; Vaping.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Erectile Dysfunction* / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Vaping*