A cohort of Hawaii Japanese men was assembled for epidemiologic studies of heart disease and cancer. Diet and tobacco consumption data were obtained from 1965 to 1968 and from 1971 to 1975. Biopsies from sites at maximal, intermediate, and minimal risk of intestinal metaplasia were performed on 350 men. Metaplasia was found in 234 men. Gastric cancer was found in 9/234 with metaplasia (3.8%) and 1/116 men without metaplasia (0.89%). Nitrite-rich salty foods (e.g., cured meats) were directly related to metaplasia at both examinations. Vitamin C intake did not appear to have prevented the development of intestinal metaplasia. Smoking was directly related to the presence of metaplasia, but the association was weaker than was observed for cured meats. The strong association between nitrite-rich salty foods and metaplasia appears to be uniform from one study to another, as is the lack of a consistent relation between metaplasia and either smoking or vitamin C consumption. Heavy smokers were more likely to have metaplasia than were nonsmokers, but these associations were weaker than were those with cured meats.