This is the sixth and concluding part of a series of publications from the Swiss task force named "Smoking - Intervention in the private dental office" on the topic "tobacco use and dental medicine". The focus of this review is the effects of smoking for the development of atherosclerosis as pathohistological correlate for acute coronary syndrome (ACS), arterial occlusive disease, and cerebrovascular diseases (stroke). Additionally, a causal relationship between tobacco use and an increased rate for complications during pregnancy and child birth will be discussed. Next to causal therapy of local and systemic diseases in general, an emphasis must be given to tobacco use prevention and cessation. Finally, important public health issues concerning smoking and tobacco use will be demonstrated, and options to improve the current situation will be presented.