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January 18, 1965

Cigarette Smoking and Peripheral Atherosclerotic Occlusive Disease

Author Affiliations

From the New York University Post-Graduate Medical School, New York.

JAMA. 1965;191(3):249-251. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080030093021

IN THE COURSE of the practice of general and vascular surgery, an interesting observation was made while taking the history of nondiabetic patients complaining of pains or aches in their legs. If the reply to the question, "Are you a heavy cigarette smoker?" was "no," then rarely would the trouble prove to be due to peripheral arterial occlusive disease on an atherosclerotic basis. Rather, an explanation for the leg pains would be found in the area of sciatic nerve involvement, varicose veins, or arthritic joint; or occasionally no lesion would be demonstrable. This observation seemed to be so constant that a detailed review of patients operated upon in my private practice for occlusive arterial disease was made.


  1. Heavy Cigarette Smoker: a man or woman who consumed one pack of cigarettes or more daily for 20 years or longer.

  2. Casual Cigarette Smoker: a man or woman who consumed