[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
January 15, 1968

Effects of Cigarette Smoking on Endurance Performance

Author Affiliations

From the Aerospace Medical Laboratory (Clinical), Wilford Hall USAF Hospital, Aerospace Medical Division (AFSC), Lack-land Air Force Base, Tex.

JAMA. 1968;203(3):189-192. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140030021006

By means of a 12-minute field test, the effect of cigarette smoking on endurance performance was measured in 419 airmen before and after six weeks of basic training. In 47 airmen, cardiopulmonary indexes also were obtained during maximal treadmill performance. Field testing showed that endurance performance was inversely related to the number of cigarettes smoked daily and the duration of smoking. The training response also was impaired significantly in the smokers. During treadmill studies, smokers had a decrease in respiratory minute volume and a lower oxygen consumption at equivalent heart rates than nonsmokers. Further statistical studies demonstrated not only the independent effect of smoking, but also the effect of prior athletic history and physical characteristics on endurance performance. The latter effects become less significant as physical training progressed.