Although adverse effects of smoking on bone health are all well known, data on how smoking interacts with cartilage structure in otherwise healthy individuals remains conflicting. Here, we ascertain the effects of cigarette smoking on sonoelastographic properties of distal femoral cartilage in asymptomatic adults. Demographic characteristics and smoking habits (packets/year) of healthy volunteers were recorded. Medial, intercondylar, and lateral distal femoral cartilage thicknesses and strain ratios on the dominant extremity were measured with ultrasonography (US) and real time US elastography. A total of 88 subjects (71 M, 17 F; aged 18-56 years, N = 43 smokers and N = 45 nonsmokers) were evaluated. Mean amount of cigarette smoking was 10.3 +/- 8.9 (1-45) packets/year. Medial, intercondylar and lateral cartilage were thicker in smokers than nonsmokers (p = 0.002, p = 0.017, and p = 0.004, respectively). Medial distal femoral cartilage strain ratio was lower in smokers (p = 0.003). The amount of smoking was positively correlated with cartilage thicknesses and negatively correlated with medial cartilage strain ratios (p < 0.05). Femoral cartilage is thicker in smokers but has less strain ratio representing harder cartilage on the medial side. Future studies are needed to understand how these structural changes in the knee cartilage should be interpreted with regard to the development of knee osteoarthritis in smokers.