The unusually high relative frequency of cancer in the laryngeal region in males (18% of all histologically diagnosed cancers) and a sex ratio of unity for lung cancer in Northern Thailand were further explored in a hospital-based case-control study in Chiang Mai. This compared patients having cancers of the oral cavity (including oropharynx), larynx, hypopharynx and lung, with controls in relation to smoking and chewing habits. Statistical analysis indicated that chewing betel is strongly associated with the occurrence of oral cancer in both sexes, and with cancer of the laryngeal region in males. No factors were strongly linked to lung cancer in men, but, in women, urban residence and miang chewing were associated with lung cancer. Analysis of smoke from the two main types of cigars smoked in the region showed that both had high tar content, but there were marked differences in pH. Smoking cigars with alkaline smoke and high tar had an increased risk for laryngeal cancer in males, whereas other cigars with acid smoke and high tar together with manufactured cigarettes had increased risks for lung cancer. These increased risks were not, however, statistically significant.