This crossover study examined whether acute cardiovascular responses, baroreceptor sensitivity (BRS), and brain oxygenation during isometric exercise are altered after cigarette smoking. Twelve young, habitual smokers randomly performed a smoking and a control protocol, during which participants smoked one cigarette (0.9 mg nicotine) or a sham cigarette, before exercise. Testing involved baseline, a 5-minute smoking, a 10-minute post-smoking rest, 3-minute handgrip exercise (30% maximum voluntary contraction), and recovery. Beat-to-beat blood pressure, heart rate (HR), and cerebral oxygenation (near infrared spectroscopy) were continuously monitored. Double-product, stroke volume (SV), cardiac output, systemic vascular resistance and BRS were assessed. During post-smoking rest, systolic or diastolic blood pressure (140.8 ± 12.1/87.0 ± 6.9 vs. 125.9 ± 7.1/77.3 ± 5.5 mm Hg), HR, and double product were higher in the smoking versus the control protocol, whereas BRS was lower (P <.05). During handgrip exercise, smoking resulted in greater HR and double product (17,240 ± 3893 vs. 15,424 ± 3173 mm Hg˙bpm) and lower BRS versus the control protocol (P <.05), without significant differences in stroke volume and systemic vascular resistance between protocols. During recovery, smoking elicited a delayed return of brain oxygenation indices, lower BRS, and higher double product. Smoking a cigarette shortly before the exercise session amplifies myocardial stress and dysregulates autonomic function and cerebral oxygenation during exercise and recovery, even in young habitual smokers, perceived as free from long-term cardiovascular effects of smoking.