OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to evaluate the roles of cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, tuberculosis, and their interactions in the risk of lung cancer in a Korean cohort. METHODS: The study subjects comprised 13,150 males and females aged above 20 years old. During the follow up period from 1993 to 2002, 79 lung cancer cases were identified by the central cancer registry and the national death certificate database. Information on cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption and the history of physiciandiagnosed tuberculosis was obtained by interview. Indirect chest X-ray findings were also evaluated to ascertain tuberculosis cases. Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) after adjusting for age and gender. RESULTS: Cigarette smoking was statistically significantly associated with an increased risk of lung cancer [for current smokers, RR = 2.33 (95% CI = 1.23 - 4.42) compared to non-smokers]. After further adjustment for cigarette smoking, both alcohol consumption and tuberculosis showed no statistically significant association with the risk of lung cancer [for current drinkers, RR = 0.80 (95% CI = 0.48 - 1.33) compared to non-drinkers] [for tuberculosis cases, RR = 1.17 (95% CI = 0.58 - 2.36) compared to noncases]. There was no statistically significant interaction between cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption (pinteraction = 0.38), or cigarette smoking and tuberculosis (p-interaction = 0.74). CONCLUSIONS: Although cigarette smoking was confirmed as a risk factor of lung cancer in this cohort study, this study suggests that alcohol consumption and tuberculosis may not be associated with the risk of lung cancer.