The causal relationship between cigarette smoking and cardiovascular disease (CVD) is well known and it is of great importance that smokers with CVD are encouraged to stop. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is an effective aid to smoking cessation. However, its use in patients with CVD is often avoided because of warnings on product labelling. This is not justified, as NRT use in dependent smokers is much safer than smoking. Arguments are presented for the following guidelines which may be used when recommending NRT to patients with CVD; (i) NRT can normally be recommended to smokers with CVD who tried and failed to quit without such help; (ii) in patients who have experienced a serious cardiovascular event within the past 4 weeks, involve the patient's consulting physician. In less acute cases this is not needed; (iii) ensure dosing does not exceed the manufacturer's recommendation; (iv) warn patients to stop using NRT if they relapse to smoking; and (v) target motivated smokers (i.e. those seeking help), and where possible provide or arrange intensive behavioural support to accompany NRT. This advice is conservative, but will hopefully remove some obstacles faced by smoking cessation counsellors and other health professionals when considering the use of NRT in people with history of CVD.