This descriptive study examined the differences in beliefs and social influences between patients who decided to quit or to continue smoking following diagnosis of chronic peripheral vascular disease. A consecutive quota sample of 20 patients who had quit smoking (quitters) and 22 who had continued smoking (continuers) agreed to participate in the study. There were no statistically significant differences between quitters and continuers in demographic characteristics, clinical variables and perceived social influences. Statistically significant differences were found between groups in beliefs about and attitudes towards the risk of continued smoking. These findings underline the need to investigate more fully the factors which influence patients' decisions to quit or to continue smoking. Further investigation may also provide detailed information on the role of risk perception in influencing this decision-making process.