The functional significance of genetic polymorphisms on tobacco smoke-induced CYP1A2 activity was examined. The influence of three polymorphisms of the cytochrome P450 1A2 gene (CYP1A2) (-3860 G-->A (allele *1C), -2467 T-->delT (allele *1D), -163C-->A (allele *1F)), located in the 5'-noncoding promoter region of the gene, on CYP1A2 activity (measured as caffeine metabolic ratio, CMR), was studied in Caucasian current smokers (n=95). Tobacco smoke intake was calculated from the number of cigarettes/day. Also, studied was the influence of these CYP1A2 genotypes on smoking-associated urinary mutagenicity, detected in Salmonella typhimurium strain YG1024 with S9 mix, considering the urinary excretion of nicotine plus its metabolites as an internal indicator of tobacco smoke exposure. Smokers with at least one of the variant alleles CYP1A2 -3860A and -2467 delT showed a significantly increased CYP1A2 CMR (-3860 G/A versus G/G, p<0.05; -2467 delT/delT versus T/delT and T/T, p<0.01). Multiple regression analysis showed that the increase in CYP1A2 CMR (ln values) was again significantly related to the presence of CYP1A2 variants -2467delT and also to variant -163A (p<0.05), but moderately to -3860A (p=0.084). No influence of the number of cigarettes smoked per day by each subject was found. Heavy smokers (n=48, with urinary nicotine plus its metabolites>or=0.69 mg/mmol creatinine) with variant allele -2467delT or -163A had significantly increased urinary mutagenicity (p<0.01 and <0.05). CYP1A2 genetic polymorphisms are shown to influence the CYP1A2 phenotype in smokers, -2467 T-->delT having the main effect. This information is of interest for future studies assessing the possible role of tobacco smoke-inducible CYP1A2 genotypes as individual susceptibility factors in exposure to carcinogens.