591 patients with a history of coronary heart disease had one or more biochemical markers of tobacco smoking measured. 26% were self reported smokers and a further 4% were apparent 'smoking deceivers'. The urinary nicotine metabolite concentration is an excellent marker for tobacco smoking; breath CO would be a suitable alternative for busy clinics. Half the patients were subjected to regular advice on risk factor management but there was no evidence that this contributed effectively to smoking cessation. Overall smoking cessation rate was poor.