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Tobacco smoking is associated with alterations in several factors considered to be important in the atherosclerotic process. Thirty chronic smokers were studied 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after complete tobacco withdrawal. Significant reductions in fibrinogen, haematocrit, plasma viscosity and whole blood viscosity as well as a significant increase in HDL-cholesterol were observed. As these factors are important in both atherogenesis and thrombogenesis, these observations may give insight into tobacco-induced atherosclerotic disease and may be responsible for the more rapid reduction in the incidence of cardiovascular disease that is believed to occur after stopped smoking.