Cigarette smoking is linked to increased cardiac morbidity and mortality, and has been shown to affect both lipid profiles and thrombotic factors in healthy subjects. However, the influence of smoking on the atherothrombotic environment has not been studied in a large population of patients after acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Blood samples and medical history, including smoking status, were obtained from 1,045 patients at a 2- month visit after AMI. Smokers were asked to refrain 24 hours before the visit, but not all complied. Measurements included total cholesterol, low- density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, apolipoprotein-B, apolipoprotein-A, triglycerides, factor VII, factor VIIa, von Willebrand factor, D-dimer, and plasminogen activator inhibitor. There were 247 current, 443 past, and 349 nonsmokers. After adjustment for clinical variables, current smokers had higher levels of total cholesterol and apolipoprotein-B than past and nonsmokers (p<0.01). High-density lipoprotein cholesterol and apolipoprotein-A levels were similar between groups. Fibrinogen was elevated in current (p = 0.001) and past (p = 0.029) smokers, compared with nonsmokers. Smokers who smoked within 24 hours of blood sampling had higher apolipoprotein-B (p = 0.005), total cholesterol (p = 0.001), and fibrinogen (p = 0.015) levels than those who refrained from smoking. In conclusion, postinfarction patients, who historically have higher levels of atherogenic lipids than healthy subjects, have increased levels of these lipids attributed to active smoking. After smoking cessation, lipid profiles approach nonsmoker levels, but fibrinogen remains elevated. Smoking within 24 hours of blood sampling was associated with further adverse prothrombotic and lipogenic effects. (C) 2000 by Excerpta Medica, Inc.