A case-control study was conducted to examine the influence of dietary factors on the risk of developing lung cancer among women who have never smoked cigarettes. This study included 124 cases of histologically confirmed carcinoma of the lung and 263 community-based controls. Dietary data were collected utilizing the reduced version of the National Cancer Institute (Block) food frequency questionnaire. The results of this analysis, adjusted for age, education, and total calories, indicated a strong protective effect associated with total vegetable consumption and intake of carotene. Individuals in the highest quartile of vegetable consumption experienced the greatest decreased risk with an odds ratio (OR) of 0.2, [confidence interval (CI) 0.1-0.5]. The effect of all vegetables combined was greater than that of green and yellow vegetables alone (highest quartile OR 0.4, CI 0.2-0.7). Similarly, the protective effect of total carotene (highest quartile OR 0.3, CI 0.1-0.6) was somewhat greater than that of beta-carotene alone (highest quartile OR 0.4, CI 0.2-0.8). Retinol intake was not associated with a decreased risk of lung cancer in our population. There was an inverse association between lung cancer risk and vitamin C intake, which was not significant, although a statistically significant trend was noted.