Male rats were exposed to freshly generated cigarette smoke once daily, 5 times a week for 10 weeks. Inhalation of smoke was verified by elevated carboxyhemoglobin in blood sampled immediately after smoke exposure and by increased lung aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase activity 24 hours after the last smoke exposure. Aortic rings isolated from smoke-exposed rats synthesized less prostacyclin (PGI2) from 14C-arachidonic acid than rings from sham rats. Platelets from smoke-exposed rats synthesized more thromboxane (TXA2) from 14C-arachidonic acid than platelets from room controls but not those from sham rats. Lung microsomes from smoke-exposed rats synthesized more TXA2 and had a lower PGI2/TXA2 ratio than lung microsomes from room controls and shams. It is concluded that chronic cigarette smoke exposure alters arachidonic acid metabolism in aortas, platelets and lungs in a manner resulting in decreased PGI2 and increased TXA2, thereby creating a condition favoring platelet aggregation and a variety of cardiovascular diseases.