The highest mortality due to cancer worldwide for both genders corresponds to lung cancer (1,179,000 deaths). In Mexico, the crude mortality rate due to lung cancer was of 5.01 per 10(5) inhabitants in 1979. The most important risk factor is smoking. The present study was aimed at analyzing the mortality due to lung cancer in Mexico, assessing data from each of the states constituting the Mexican Republic during the 1998-2004 period. Data were obtained from the National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Informatics (INEGI, for its initials in Spanish) corresponding to deaths due to lung cancer (1998-2004). We estimated the mean annual mortality rate (MAMR) for each of the 32 states of Mexico. We used the "World Population Standard". The MAMR was standardized according to age (ARS) direct method, and the standard error was determined by Poisson's approximation at a 95% confidence interval. To know the excess risk due to mortality, we calculated the standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) of ARS for each federal state, using the national rate as reference. In this period, 397,400 deaths due to malignant neoplasms were recorded, corresponding 45,578 (11.5%) to lung cancer; for men, 31,025 (68.1%) with MAMR of 8.9 and the respective ARS of 13.2 both x10(5) inhabitants. For women, results were 4553 (31.9%) deaths with MAMR of 4.1 and ARS of 5.4 both x10(5) inhabitants. The highest mortality rates due to lung cancer in both genders were observed in the north of Mexico, whereas for women this was observed in the central states. Although smoking is the main risk for lung cancer, there are other factors such as environmental pollution or exposure to toxicants that could be associated to this cancer. The years potentially lost due to lung cancer were 258,550 for men and 133,315 for women, with a total of 391,865 according to histopathology registry neoplasm malignant RHNM (1985-1995). Studies focused on the characterization and measurement of polluting agents would be a good start to determine the level of participation of air pollution in the development of lung cancer.