Does Smoking Decrease Testosterone?—Yes and No

Does smoking decrease testosterone?

Yes, in the long run, but it also increases testosterone in the short term.

It’s an established fact that smoking is terrible for your health, often causing life-threatening illnesses, such as:

  • Lung cancer
  • Emphysema
  • COPD

It also has damaging effects on the rest of your body, including tampering with your hormone balance. 

A man in a shirt and tie lights a cigarette. But, does smoking decrease testosterone? Yes, and no.

Smoking Increases Testosterone Early On

You read that right. 

Contrary to common-sense predictions, smoking may not cause an immediate decrease in testosterone production. Some research suggests smoking may increase testosterone in the short term.

A study of more than 3,000 men published in the International Journal of Andrology found a positive correlation between smoking and increased testosterone levels.

The subjects in this study had an average smoking history of 42.8 years, and smoked an average of 11.6 cigarettes per day, compared to those who didn’t smoke.

The smokers had 15% higher total testosterone levels and 13% higher free testosterone levels when compared to men who never smoked in their lives. Even more surprising was that increasing the number of cigarettes per day appeared to simultaneously increase both total and free testosterone levels.

One important item to consider is that men with higher testosterone levels may be more likely to engage in risky behaviors, one of which could be smoking. Therefore, there’s a possibility that men who smoke have bodies set up to produce more testosterone to begin with.

Smoking: Still a Terrible Idea

The positive correlation between smoking and increased testosterone seems to have an expiration date, turning on men in the long run. 

Smoking will eventually decrease testosterone production.

All men experience a slow decline in testosterone production as they age. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that heavy smokers (36.5 packs or more per year) show a faster age-related decline in testosterone than non-smokers. 

This information shouldn’t be answering the question of whether you should smoke or not. 

Of course, that’s a terrible idea. The overall conclusion is that smoking might boost your testosterone for a limited period of time, but it’s going to eventually reverse course and cause more damage to your hormonal health (not to mention the rest of your body).

This information should be used to highlight how fragile your hormonal system is and the negative effects that toxins and chemicals, including those ingested by smoking, can cause. 

You should be paying attention to the products that can be harmful to your hormone health, or to products that claim to promote testosterone production but are actually harmful to your body. In addition to cigarettes, these include:

If you’re in your 20s or 30s, we also suggest you learn more about how sugary beverages can damage testosterone production in younger males.

If you’re genuinely concerned about Low T and hope to increase your testosterone production, smoking is not the answer. 

Self-medicating is also a terrible idea. Many OTC medications claim to increase testosterone or fertility, but  they’re usually a waste of money and often are unsafe. 

OTC Product Risks—Learn More


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(Augie) Juan Augustine Galindo Jr. MPAS, PA-C

(Augie) Juan Augustine Galindo Jr. MPAS, PA-C started his career in healthcare as a fireman/paramedic in West Texas where he served on the Midland Fire Department from 1998-2004.   He became interested in testosterone treatment after seeing how hormone replacement doctors helped those suffering from low testosterone.   After graduating from the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center Physician Assistant Program, he moved to DFW where he currently lives with his wife and three children.

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