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Disease Information : PAD : Risk Factors : Smoking and Pad

PAD : Smoking and PAD

According to the American College of Cardiologists, the risk of developing peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is as much as three times higher for people who smoke as that of none smokers.

Survival rates for patients with PAD who have undergone peripheral bypass surgery is 85 percent in smokers and 100 percent in nonsmokers at 1 year, 40 percent in smokers and 67 percent in nonsmokers at 3 years, and 36 percent in smokers and 66 percent in nonsmokers after 5 years of follow-up.1

The same study found rates of amputation significantly higher in smokers compared with nonsmokers. The rate of in-hospital amputation was 23 percent in smokers and 10 percent in nonsmokers. After 5 years of follow-up, the amputation rate was 28 percent in smokers compared with 11 percent in nonsmokers.2

The risk for coronary artery disease decreases rapidly if a smoker quits. About 40 percent of the risk is eliminated within 5 years of smoking cessation. However, it may take several more years for a former smoker’s risk to fall to that of a person who has never smoked.3

A study conducted by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research showed that a physician’s recommendation to stop smoking raises success rates of quitting by 7 to 10 percent.4


1.Creager, M., and Hiatt, W.,  Management of Peripheral Artery Disease.  Medscape Cardiology, AC’99 CME Online, March 7-17, 1999.


3. Friedewald WT. Epidemiology of cardiovascular disease. In: Wyngaarden JB, Smith LH, Bennett JC, eds. Cecil Textbook of Medicine. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders Co; 1992:151-155.

4. Fiore, M. Smoking Cessation, an AHCPR Guideline, September 1996.

Peripheral Arterial Disease section was last modified: July 10, 2009 - 05:28 pm