The growth of pulmonary function between 5.5 and 25 yr of age was determined using 1,511 observations over time on 353 subjects from a representative population sample of white non-Mexican-Americans in Tucson. There was an average of 8.8 yr of follow-up, with a maximum of 12. The method used was shown to be robust for span of follow-up from 3 to 12 yr (3 to 7 observations), and the results were verified by standard statistical methods. The standard error of the estimate decreased linearly with follow-up, indicating the need for longitudinal evaluation. Respiratory symptoms and diagnoses had the biggest negative impact on growth of lung function, using FVC, FEV1, Vmax50, and size-compensated flows (Vmax50/FVC). Smoking had the next biggest negative impact. Smoking cessation was shown to have a positive impact on growth of pulmonary function. Using a second linear model to adjust for individual variability and the random variability over surveys, individual growth showed similar trends. Further negative impacts were due to parental smoking, especially as it interacts with active smoking and respiratory disease. Flows at end of follow-up (Vmax50, Vmax50/FVC) were more sensitive than FEV1 to the effects of concurrent disease and smoking, and more persistent effects of these factors in early adulthood.