We examined the association between oral contraceptive use and incidence of Type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus among 115117 female nurses free of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer in 1976 and followed-up for 12 years. During 1237440 person years of follow-up, 2276 women who provided information on oral contraceptive use were clinically diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Women who used oral contraceptives in the past had only a slight and marginally increased relative risk of 1.10 (95% confidence interval 1.01, 1.21) compared to those women who had never used oral contraceptives after controlling for known risk factors of disease. We found no evidence of increased risk with longer duration of use or with shorter interval since last use. Current users did not have an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes (relative risk = 0.86, 95% confidence interval 0.46, 1.61) when compared to women who had never used the drug. There was no effect modification by obesity, family history of diabetes, or physical activity. These data suggest that past or current oral contraceptive use does not substantially influence subsequent risk of Type 2 diabetes.