Background:Smoking cessation reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and improves clinical outcomes in public health. We studied the effect of smoking cessation on high-density lipoprotein (HDL) functionality.Methods and Results:We randomly treated 32 smokers with varenicline or a transdermal nicotine patch as part of a 12-week smoking cessation program (The VN-SEESAW Study). The plasma lipid profiles, plasma and HDL malondialdehyde (MDA) levels, HDL subfractions as analyzed by capillary isotachophoresis, cholesterol efflux capacity, and antiinflammatory activity of HDL were measured before and after the anti-smoking intervention. After smoking cessation, HDL-C, apoA-I levels and HDL subfractions were not significantly different from the respective baseline values. However, cholesterol efflux capacity and the HDL inflammatory index (HII) were significantly improved after smoking cessation. The changes in both parameters (%∆ cholesterol efflux capacity and ∆HII) were also significantly improved in the successful smoking cessation group compared with the unsuccessful group. The changes in cholesterol efflux capacity and HII also correlated with those in end-expiratory CO concentration and MDA in HDL, respectively.Conclusions:Our findings indicate that smoking cessation leads to improved HDL functionality, increased cholesterol efflux capacity and decreased HII, without changing HDL-C or apoA-I levels or HDL subfractions. This may be one of the mechanisms by which smoking cessation improves the risk of CVD.