The effects of cigarette smoking and hypertension on hemorheological variables (blood viscosity over a wide range of shear rates, plasma viscosity, microhematocrit, and plasma protein concentration) and on arterial stiffness (pulse wave velocity) were investigated in 33 normotensive men and 81 mild to moderately hypertensive men. Of these, 22 normotensive and 24 hypertensive subjects were cigarette smokers. Cigarette smoking and hypertension were independently associated with higher blood viscosity at all studied shear rates (from 0.2 to 241 sec-1) as well as with higher plasma viscosity, hematocrit, and pulse wave velocity. At constant hematocrit levels, hypertension remained associated with a higher blood viscosity, while the association with cigarette smoking disappeared. Normotensive smokers had the same increase of blood and plasma viscosity and pulse wave velocity as hypertensive nonsmokers. No interactive effects of hypertension or cigarette smoking on blood or arterial variables were observed, suggesting that the effect of these two factors on blood and vascular rheology are cumulative. Smoking and hypertension may change the flow properties of the blood and the behavior of the arterial wall and this may explain the arterial damage observed in cigarette smokers and hypertensive patients.