Effects of Cigarette Smoking on Endothelial Function in Chronic Smokers Compared with Healthy Young Adults


PURPOSE: Previous studies have suggested endothelial dysfunction as a predictor of adverse cardiovascular events, and cigarette smoking impairs endothelial function. To examine the degree to which smoking cigarettes affects endothelial function in individuals, we compared brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD) between young adult smokers (100 cigarette lifetime minimum, and 15 per month) and non-smoking recreationally-active young adults.

METHODS: The FMD test was performed on 30 young adult smokers (26 M, 4 F, age 25.2±4.6yrs) and 28 non-smokers (19 M, 9 F age 24.2±3.7yrs). Parameters of the FMD test include, baseline and peak diameter, FMD (% and absolute change), shear rate area under the curve (s-1, AUC), normalized FMD response (FMD (%) / Shear rate (s-1, AUC). Smoking status was verified via breath carbon monoxide (CO) concentration.

RESULTS: FMD (5.6±3.8% vs. 7.6±3.1%, p=0.05) and the normalized FMD response (0.41±0.35 vs. 0.73±0.52, p=0.01) were both lower in smokers compared to non-smokers. There were sex differences in baseline diameter (0.35±0.03 cm vs. 0.41±0.06 cm; p=0.001) and peak diameter (0.37±0.01 cm vs. 0.43±0.06 cm p=0.001), with men exhibiting higher for both measures. No differences (p>0.05) between smokers and non-smokers were observed for baseline diameter (0.38±0.06 cm vs. 0.41±0.06 cm), peak diameter (0.41±0.06 cm vs. 0.43±0.06 cm), absolute change in diameter (0.03±0.01 cm vs. 0.02±0.02 cm), and shear rate (14011.98±10.456.17 s-1, AUC vs. 16714.42±8128.99 s-1, AUC) . Further, there was no correlation with breath CO concentration and any FMD variable in smokers.

CONCLUSION: These data support previous studies which indicate that chronic smoking results in endothelial dysfunction. Our ongoing randomized-controlled trial will determine if resistance training can improve endothelial function in chronic smokers and whether the levels after training will be similar to those in non-smokers before training.



Publication Date


Journal Title

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise


Wolters Kluwer

Document Type



© 2012 American College of Sports Medicine