Chinese women in Hong Kong have among the highest incidence and mortality of lung cancer in the world, in spite of a low prevalence of smoking. We carried out this population-based case-control study to evaluate the associations of previous lung disease and family cancer history with the occurrence of lung cancer among them. We selected 212 cases that were newly diagnosed with primary lung cancer, and randomly sampled 292 controls from the community, frequency matched by age group. All the cases and controls were lifetime nonsmokers. We estimated the main effects of preexisting asthma, pulmonary tuberculosis, pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, and family lung/all cancer history, using unconditional logistic regression, accounting for various potential risk factors and confounders. All of the previous lung diseases, except chronic bronchitis, were related to an elevated risk for lung cancer, and the association with asthma was significant. Those who had more than one previous lung disease tended to be at higher risk than those with only one of them. Positive family history of any cancer was associated with over 2-fold risk than negative family history. The joint effect of positive history of previous pulmonary diseases and positive family cancer history appeared to be additive, indicating the two factors acted independently. The results support an etiological link of preexisting lung disease and family cancer history to the risk of lung cancer.