This study examined the relationship between lifetime alcohol consumption and respiratory symptoms in 195 subjects (including 111 alcoholics) and FEV1 level in 165 subjects (including 91 alcoholics). After adjustment for age and cigarette smoking status, using multiple logistic regression, lifetime alcohol consumption was a significant predictor of chronic cough and chronic phlegm, but not of any wheeze or persistent wheeze. Multiple linear regression analysis indicated that lifetime alcohol consumption was also a predictor of lower levels of FEV1 in a model that included age, pack-years of cigarette smoking, and an interaction between alcohol consumption and pack-years. The interaction between smoking and alcohol consumption was in a direction opposite to the independent effects of alcohol and smoking, suggesting a protective effect of alcohol with heavier amounts of smoking. Additional study is needed to further assess the relationship between respiratory symptoms and alcohol consumption, and between pulmonary function and alcohol consumption.