This study was conducted to investigate acute effects of smoking on platelet function, endothelial cells and plasma lipids and to follow these parameters after Aspirin ingestion. Twelve fasting smokers each inhaled the smoke of one cigarette. Blood was drawn before and 10 min after smoking. Plasma nicotine, measured by gas chromatography, increased from 13.48 before smoking to 78.41 nM after smoking. Platelet aggregation to thrombin and ADP increased significantly (P less than 0.001). The platelet aggregate ratio decreased from 0.95 to 0.75 (P less than 0.005). Plasma beta-thromboglobulin also increased in post-smoking samples as measured using radioimmunoassay. 'Circulating endothelial cells' increased significantly after smoking (P less than 0.005). Triglycerides decreased (P less than 0.005) in plasma and in the VLDL fraction (P less than 0.05). Both post-smoking plasma free fatty acids and free glycerol increased, respectively, as compared with respective values. Lipase activity ascribable to lipoprotein lipase and hepatic lipase, absent in pre-smoking plasma samples, could be detected in post-smoking plasma without heparin injection. At least 1 week later, the subjects returned to follow an identical protocol except that they had ingested Aspirin (650 mg) 10-14 h before blood sampling. The same parameters were measured before and after smoking the same cigarette. Except for plasma nicotine, all the smoking-induced changes were abolished by ingestion of Aspirin. The results of this study indicate an interrelationship between platelet hyperactivity, endothelial injury and plasma lipids. They also demonstrate an inhibition of the major smoking-induced changes by Aspirin in the presence of high plasma nicotine levels. It is concluded that Aspirin may offset several of the deleterious acute effects of smoking. However, our conclusions cannot be, in any way, extended for long-term effects of both smoking and Aspirin treatment. Based on these data, it is suggested that there may be some links between platelet hyperactivity, endothelium injury and plasma lipids.