Does Nicotine Increase Testosterone? The Unexpected Truth

Does nicotine increase testosterone? It’s a common question among men who are concerned about their testosterone levels. This might be especially true among younger adults since nicotine use, thanks to vapes and oral pouches, has been making a comeback after declining for years.

There’s a widespread belief that smoking and other forms of nicotine use are harmful to overall health. This makes sense because medical studies routinely show how cigarette smoke and other forms of nicotine increase your chances of having serious health problems. These include cancer, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory issues.

But does nicotine increase testosterone or affect it in other ways? Let’s take a closer look at the link between nicotine and testosterone. We’ll also take a closer look at the research regarding its possible long-term effects. Plus, we will look at other concerns regarding how nicotine may affect the body.

Table of Contents:

Does Nicotine Really Increase Testosterone Levels?

For many years, researchers and healthcare providers believed that smoking decreased testosterone. However, research has shown that this isn’t always the case. In fact, smoking was found to be an influencing factor for both total testosterone (TT) and free testosterone (FT). Research has shown that nicotine may cause a short-term increase in serum testosterone.

A 2001 study found that serum testosterone levels in men who smoked were actually higher than those who had never smoked. A 2015 review in Preventive Medicine also pointed out that testosterone levels tended to be slightly higher in men who smoked.

More recent studies on the link between nicotine and testosterone have produced conflicting results. Some suggest that nicotine can boost testosterone, at least initially. However, other research suggests smoking increases the risk of levels decreasing, indicating the opposite is true. So does nicotine increase testosterone or lower it?

More About the Research on Nicotine and Testosterone

Researchers have conducted various studies trying to determine how and why nicotine impacts testosterone. It’s believed that nicotine’s effects on testosterone levels might be related to the fact that nicotine can stimulate the release of hormones. This includes luteinizing hormone (LH).

This key hormone then travels to the testes, stimulating them to produce testosterone. There’s also the possibility that nicotine causes changes in how the body metabolizes, or breaks down, testosterone. Because the disposal of both nicotine and androgens involves the same enzymes, it is thought that nicotine might interfere with the breakdown of androgens, causing testosterone levels to rise. But these theories lack clear scientific support.

It’s important to remember that even if nicotine causes a rise in testosterone, these levels are usually still within a normal range. The Journal of Urology points out that normal serum testosterone levels usually range from 300–1,000 ng/dL.

Can Using Nicotine Gum or Vaping Affect Your Testosterone?

Today, people who use nicotine have more options than ever before. Cigarettes are still common, but products such as vaping pens and oral nicotine pouches, like Zyn, are also readily available.

There are even types of nicotine chewing gum, such as Nicorette, for people who want to stop smoking. With all the attention these products are receiving, research has been done on whether vaping, using pouches, or chewing gum can impact testosterone.

For example, in a 2022 study, researchers observed baseball players who were given nicotine chewing gum. It was observed that 30 minutes after chewing the gum, these individuals had decreased levels of salivary testosterone. However, this was only a short-term effect. These levels returned to normal once the subjects were given a series of physical tests.

In 2022, a study of over 600 Swedish men revealed some interesting findings about oral nicotine use. The men who chewed tobacco had a 24% lower sperm count compared to those who didn’t. However, their testosterone levels were surprisingly 14% higher on average.

Both those who used e-cigarettes and cigarettes had lower sperm counts than those who didn’t smoke. Researchers observed a difference in hormone concentrations between the groups. This suggests smoking has a greater effect than vaping on testosterone.

Nicotine’s Other Effects on the Male Body

Although nicotine might cause a small boost in testosterone, it can negatively impact men’s bodies in several other ways. In addition to increasing the risk for life-threatening illnesses, it has been associated with the following concerns.

Sperm Count and Quality

Lower semen volume, as well as sperm with reduced count and quality, are possible issues associated with nicotine use. So although some studies suggest a slight increase in testosterone levels, they don’t necessarily mean that nicotine is beneficial for reproductive health. Because it may have a detrimental effect on semen, fertility problems are possible.

Erectile Dysfunction

Does nicotine increase testosterone levels but have a detrimental effect on erections? Unfortunately, that may be the case for some men. Nitric oxide, a type of free radical that increases blood flow, is depleted by smoking. This means that men may experience worsened, or even new, nitric oxide problems.

Optimal blood flow to the penis is crucial for getting and maintaining an erection. Therefore, nicotine use has the potential to impact men’s sexual health significantly. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant and make it hard to quit.

Comorbidities Associated with Nicotine

Also, smoking is strongly associated with diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. These, along with other chronic conditions, are known to decrease testosterone levels. This can result in men experiencing an observed decrease in hormone levels.

Can Quitting Smoking Improve Your Testosterone Levels?

It’s natural to wonder if ceasing nicotine use might reverse its potentially negative effects on the male body. This question has been the focus of numerous studies. Some research indicates that when men quit smoking, they often experience a short-term decrease in testosterone.

However, quitting has so many positive benefits that outweigh this. As research suggests, long-term improvements are likely. The impact will vary from one person to the next, but men who quit will enjoy a much lower risk of developing serious medical conditions associated with smoking. Also, their sperm quality should show significant improvements over time.

In fact, studies show that after quitting, semen quality was very similar in men who had been lifelong nonsmokers and those who once smoked. If you are concerned about male infertility, you may want to consider quitting.

The Truth About Testosterone

Although men who use nicotine may notice a temporary boost in their testosterone levels, the potential side effects are serious and widespread. Nicotine is incredibly harmful to your health.

Quitting isn’t easy but it will set you on the path toward a healthier life, making it well worth the effort. This can also lead to improvements in sperm quality and testosterone levels over the long term. There is an increasing number of resources that can provide support during this process.

A far safer, healthier, and more effective solution for boosting testosterone is to talk with your healthcare provider. You may want to ask them about whether your smoking history could be a factor in your hormone levels. TRT can make a big difference if your levels are below normal. A study from the NCBI noted that, among those who do not smoke, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) was linked with a significantly decreased risk of death from any cause, as well as heart attacks. The participants’ testosterone levels were normalized thanks to the therapy.

Snuff: An Alternate Form of Nicotine

You might be wondering if other alternate forms of nicotine, such as chewing tobacco or snuff, have any effect on testosterone levels. Well, research conducted on the impact of using snuff, also referred to as smoke-free tobacco, had intriguing results. It appears that there is an association between the use of snuff, a lower sperm count, and higher total testosterone levels.

However, more research is required in order to clarify the exact nature of this relationship. For example, researchers will need to look further into how snuff affects Leydig cells, which play a crucial role in testosterone production.

Is It Possible Marijuana Use Lowers Testosterone?

Many people assume that marijuana use, which is becoming legalized in more areas, doesn’t pose any risk to their health. It’s easy to see why some might even wonder if, perhaps, it has a similar effect as nicotine when it comes to testosterone. However, it’s not a cut-and-dry answer, just like the answer to the question “does nicotine increase testosterone?”

Interestingly, the available research provides mixed conclusions when it comes to marijuana use and testosterone. There is data suggesting that the regular smoking of marijuana could possibly contribute to slightly lowered testosterone levels. However, some researchers haven’t been able to identify a definitive connection between the two.

This highlights the need for further investigation to clarify the impact of marijuana on testosterone. Further research could provide more definitive answers that help men make healthier choices about marijuana use. It’s important to remember that long-term, regular marijuana use may be linked to certain health concerns, such as cognitive impairment. And just like smoking, it carries risks.

FAQs About Does Nicotine Increase Testosterone

Does nicotine raise your testosterone?

Studies about nicotine and its effects on testosterone have provided conflicting results. However, some research suggests that using nicotine may temporarily increase testosterone levels. It’s important to remember that long-term nicotine use may actually be associated with decreased testosterone production. It is also known to increase the risk for various chronic illnesses.

Does nicotine affect muscle growth?

It’s believed that nicotine might negatively impact muscle growth due to several reasons. Nicotine’s stimulating effect could impair your sleep, making it harder to recover from your workouts. Nicotine may also hinder protein synthesis. Plus, it could interfere with your ability to absorb the nutrients necessary for muscle development.

What does nicotine do to the male body?

In addition to possibly causing a temporary boost in testosterone, nicotine can have various adverse effects on men’s bodies. Smoking or chewing tobacco increase the risk of heart disease, various cancers, respiratory issues, reduced fertility, erectile dysfunction, and premature aging.

Does nicotine affect erections?

Although it’s been observed that nicotine may initially increase testosterone, it can still cause issues with getting or maintaining an erection. Smoking cigarettes depletes nitric oxide in the body. Without optimal levels of nitric oxide, it’s much harder to achieve or sustain an erection.

So using any type of nicotine product could contribute to sexual difficulties, such as erectile dysfunction. An International Journal of Impotence Research study explored this further and found that this is a concern for those who smoke.


While nicotine has been shown in some cases to temporarily increase testosterone levels, long-term nicotine use can lead to various health problems. These problems will ultimately negatively impact testosterone levels, as well as overall health and wellness. Does nicotine increase testosterone? This is an area with lots of conflicting research.

What isn’t conflicting is that nicotine is very damaging. I highly recommend focusing on overall health through a balanced diet and exercise, as this is a much more effective and healthy way to improve testosterone production. You can also make sure you are getting enough sleep, as this plays an important role in hormonal health.

If you’re concerned about your testosterone levels, contact us today to see if you need to start TRT!