Systolic left ventricular function was examined by radionuclide ventriculography in 12 habitual smokers with known or suspected ischaemic heart disease, aged 33–69 years, before, during, and after smoking of two cigarettes in a row and was repeated on a non-smoking control day. Plasma concentrations of adrenaline, noradrenaline, renin, and angiotensin II were determined on the smoking day, before and immediately after smoking. During smoking, there were significant increases in heart rate (+27%), rate-pressure product (+23%), and cardiac output (+14%) in the face of a significant increase in left ventricular end-systolic volume (+5%) and significant decreases in ejection fraction (−6%) and stroke volume (−8%). Blood pressure was virtually unchanged, and total peripheral resistance remained constant. Plasma adrenaline increased by 100%, renin decreased by 21%, and noradrenaline and angiotensin II did not change. The humoral changes were not correlated to changes in any of the haemodynamic variables. Areas of myocardial hypokinesis emerged or widened during smoking in 11 of 12 patients. Thus, in patients with known or suspected ischaemic heart disease, smoking was associated with an acute decrease in systolic ventricular function and development of widespread hypokinesis despite adrenaline stimulation.