The association between various parameters of acute and chronic smoking status and plasma levels of three proteins, C9, C1-inhibitor (C1-INH) and alpha 1-protease inhibitor (alpha 1-PI) were determined for 49 male cigarette smokers and 49 age-matched nonsmokers (mean age = 32.2 years). The mean number of cigarettes smoked was 28.7 per day while the cumulative consumption was only 18.1 pack-years. Plasma levels of all three proteins were significantly higher in the smokers than nonsmokers. Plasma C9 and alpha 1-PI concentrations correlated with cumulative cigarette consumption and plasma nicotine concentrations. While C1-INH concentration did not correlate with either cumulative cigarette consumption or plasma nicotine concentration, it correlated significantly with serum thiocyanate concentration. No consistent correlation was found between plasma concentration of these proteins and parameters of pulmonary function.