© 2017 Altet et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Background Smoking is a risk factor for tuberculosis (TB) infection and disease progression. Tobacco smoking increases susceptibility to TB in a variety of ways, one of which is due to a reduction of the IFN-γ response. Consequently, an impaired immune response could affect performance of IFN-γ Release Assays (IGRAs). Objective In the present study, we assess the impact of direct tobacco smoking on radiological manifestations, sputum conversion and immune response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, analyzing IFN-γ secretion by IGRAs. Methods A total of 525 participants were studied: (i) 175 active pulmonary TB patients and (ii) 350 individuals coming from contact tracing studies, 41 of whom were secondary TB cases. Clinical, radiological and microbiological data were collected. T-SPOT.TB and QFN-G-IT were processed according manufacturer’s instructions. Results In smoking patients with active TB, QFN-G-IT (34.4%) and T-SPOT.TB (19.5%) had high frequencies of negative results. In addition, by means of an unconditional logistic regression, smoking was a main factor associated with IGRAs’ false-negative results (aOR: 3.35; 95% CI:1.47–7.61; p<0.05). Smoking patients with active TB presented a high probability of having cavitary lesions (aOR: 1.88; 95%CI:1.02–3.46;p<0.05). Mean culture negativization (months) ± standard deviation (SD) was higher in smokers than in non-smokers (2.47±1.3 versus 1.69±1.4). Latent TB infection (LTBI) was favored in smoking contacts, being a risk factor associated with infection (aOR: 11.57; 95%CI:5.97–22.41; p<0.00005). The IFN-γ response was significantly higher in non-smokers than in smokers. Smoking quantity and IFN-γ response analyzed by IGRAs were dose-dependent related. Conclusions Smoking had a negative effect on radiological manifestations, delaying time of sputum conversion. Our data establish a link between tobacco smoking and TB due to a weakened IFN-γ response caused by direct tobacco smoke.