Tea is the second only to water as the most consumed beverage in the world. Both green and black teas have been studied for their health benefits for a variety of diseases, particularly cancer. Lung cancer is the predominant cause of cancer mortality in developed countries. Smokers' risk of lung cancer is 20 times that of persons who have never smoked. Epidemiological studies on the cancer-preventive effects of tea produce inconsistent results, which could in part be attributed to the lack of a universal standard for tea preparations. However, most animal studies indicate that tea has strong chemopreventive effects against lung tumorigenesis. The reported mechanisms for chemopreventive activity of green tea are antioxidation, induction of phase II enzymes, inhibition of TNFalpha expression and release, inhibition of cell proliferation, and induction of apoptosis. Cell cycle arrest and apoptosis induced by green tea are probably the two most significant factors. Future studies are needed to determine how green tea affects the genes associated with cell cycle regulation and apoptosis during the mouse lung carcinogenesis process.