Smoking and peripheral vascular disease. Epidemiology and podiatric perspective

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Virtually no attention has been given in public education efforts to the potentially devastating effects of smoking on the lower extremities. An analysis of the epidemiologic studies that have been done by the Office of the Surgeon General and other clinical investigators has been presented, leading to the conclusion that cigarette smoking is the single most powerful risk factor for peripheral vascular disease. In the care of patients with peripheral vascular disease, the podiatric physician has an opportunity to be a participant in efforts to solve one of the nation's major public health problems.