UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Discussing the Sexual Health Impacts of Electronic Cigarette Use with Youth: A Proposed Framework to Support Urologists Bandara, Nilanga Aki; Lalkiya, Dhruv; Alhamam, Abdullah; Afshar, Kourosh


The sexual health of young people during the youth age period is of utmost importance, as it sets the stage for sexual well-being over the life course. In addition to the existing challenges that youth face concerning their sexual health, electronic cigarettes may also negatively impact their sexual well-being. Specifically, through issues such as stuttering priapism, reduced sperm quality and quantity, and erectile dysfunction. Electronic cigarette use among youth is prevalent. Therefore, given the negative sexual health impacts associated with electronic cigarette use, coupled with the prevalent use of electronic cigarettes, it is necessary for youth to receive adequate support and guidance, so they understand the potential impacts that electronic cigarette use can have on their sexual well-being. Urologists are uniquely situated to play an important role in supporting the sexual health of youth, given their medical and surgical knowledge, however, it appears that they do not receive adequate training to carry out discussions about sexual health with youth. This paper aims to support urologists to have discussions with youth patients on the impact that electronic cigarettes have on their sexual health through a proposed four-step framework. This four-step framework involves: (i) establishing the relationship, (ii) assessing current electronic cigarette use, (iii) sharing research examining the impact of electronic cigarettes on sexual health, and (iv) discussing strategies to prevent/reduce or stop electronic cigarette use. It is necessary to acknowledge that this framework is only a small component of efforts to educate youth on the impacts that electronic cigarettes have on their sexual health. Moving forward, implementation and evaluation of this framework is needed.

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