A population of 2955 patients admitted to the hospital with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) was followed for 1 year after AMI or until death. Smokers as compared to nonsmokers were over 10 years younger (p less than 0.001) and had a lower prevalence of hypertension (p less than 0.01), congestive heart failure (p less than 0.0001), angina pectoris (p less than 0.01), and diabetes (p less than 0.0001). They had less severe myocardial infarction evidenced, for example, by lower prevalence of pulmonary congestion on chest x-ray (p less than 0.01). Both early (1 month) and late (6 and 12 months) mortality rates were lower in the smoking population (p less than 0.0001 at 1 month, p less than 0.05 at 6 months, and p less than 0.01 at 1 year). Adjusting for age and other variables reduced but did not reverse the survival differential favoring smokers at 1 month, but adjusting for age alone eliminated the differences in mortality rates at 6 and 12 months. We conclude that while smoking is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and may contribute to the occurrence of AMI at a younger age, smoking at the time of AMI does not appear to be an independent predictor of death during the first year after AMI.