Dr. Mamatha Bhat of McGill University in Montreal said previous research found nearly 34 percent of liver transplant recipients were active or former tobacco users.
"Organs available for transplantation are scarce, with livers particularly in short supply," Bhat said in a statement. "Transplant centers need to take an active role in identifying and minimizing risks to the success of liver transplantation."
Using data from the McGill University Health Centre Liver Transplant database, the research team identified 444 patients who received liver transplants from 1990 to 2004, of which 63 were repeat transplants.
The mean age of liver recipients was 55, 66 percent were male, and the mean body mass index was 27.
The study, published in the journal Liver Transplantation, found 23 percent of transplant recipients were active or ex-smokers and 78 percent were non-smokers.
Further analysis showed the recurrent viral hepatitis-free survival time was less than one year for smokers and close to five years for non-smokers, Bhat said.