This study was designed to determine if cigarette smoking adversely affects functional recovery following ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury in peripheral nerves. Forty Wistar rats were divided evenly among four groups. Animals in groups A and B were exposed to cigarette smoke via a controlled smoking chamber for 20 minutes daily. On study day 14, all animals underwent a controlled I/R injury to one sciatic nerve. Recovery was assessed with walking track assessments, malondialdehyde (MDA) assay, and histology. Walking track results on study day 21 did not differ significantly between the smoking and nonsmoking animals. However, by study day 28, the nonsmoking animals showed a greater degree of functional recovery (SFI = −18.0 and −22.8, respectively, P = 0.03). MDA concentration in the smoking group was significantly higher than the nonsmoking group at the 28 day time point (P = 0.04). Exposure to cigarette smoke was associated with a slower functional recovery following peripheral nerve I/R injury. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc. Microsurgery, 2011.