Flavonols and flavones are antioxidant polyphenolic compounds found in tea, vegetables, fruits, and wine. In experimental studies they have been effective free radical scavengers, metal chelators, and antithrombotic agents. In the few epidemiologic studies of these agents, some have suggested an inverse association between intake of flavonols and flavones and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Our study population comprised 25,372 male smokers, 50-69 years of age, with no previous myocardial infarction. They were participants of the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study, which was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with daily supplementation of alpha-tocopherol (50 mg per day) and/or beta-carotene (20 mg per day). The men completed a validated dietary questionnaire at baseline. After 6.1 years of follow-up, there were 1,122 nonfatal myocardial infarctions and 815 coronary deaths. In the multivariate model, the relative risk of nonfatal myocardial infarction was 0.77 (95% confidence interval = 0.64-0.93) among men in the highest (median 18 mg per day) compared with the lowest (median 4 mg per day) quintile of flavonol and flavone intake. The respective relative risk for coronary death was 0.89 (95% confidence interval = 0.71-1.11). Thus, intake of flavonols and flavones was inversely associated with nonfatal myocardial infarction, whereas there was a weaker association with coronary death.