Background:Cigarette smoking is associated with an increased risk of stroke but the mechanism is unclear. The study examined whether acute and chronic cigarette smoking alters the dynamic relationship between blood pressure and cerebral blood flow. We hypothesised that acute and chronic smoking would result in a cerebral circulation that was less capable of buffering against dynamic fluctuations in blood pressure. Further, these changes would be accompanied by a reduction in baroreflex sensitivity, which is reduced after smoking (acute smoking).Methods:We recruited 17 non-smokers and 15 habitual smokers (13 ± 5 pack years). Continuous measurements of mean cerebral blood flow velocity (transcranial Doppler ultrasound), blood pressure (finger photoplethysmography) and heart rate enabled transfer function analysis of the dynamic relationship between pressure and flow (gain, normalised gain, phase and coherence) and baroreflex sensitivity during supine rest before and after smoking a single cigarette (acute smoking).Results:There were no between-group differences in gain, phase or coherence before acute smoking. However, both groups showed a reduction in gain and coherence, associated with a reduction in baroreflex sensitivity, and increase in phase after acute smoking.Conclusions:Contrary to our hypothesis, these findings suggest that in the face of a reduction in baroreflex sensitivity acute smoking may potentially improve the ability of the cerebral circulation to buffer against changes in blood pressure. However, chronic smoking did not alter the dynamic relationship between blood pressure and cerebral blood flow velocity. These results have implications on understanding mechanisms for attenuating stroke risk.