To clarify the mutagenic activity of individual smoke components, 239 compounds, representative of the gaseous and semivolatile phases of tobacco smoke, were assayed for mutagenicity towards 4 histidine-requiring mutants of Salmonella typhimurium (TA 98, TA 100, TA 1535 and TA 1537). All compounds were tested qualitatively both with and without metabolic activation using a liver fraction (S-9) from Aroclor 1254 or methylcholanthrene induced rats. Without S-9, only 2,3-dimethylindole and 2,3,5-trimethylindole showed mutagenic activity that was not enhanced by the metabolic activation system. 2,6-Diaminotoluene and coronene, which like the above compounds are not documented carcinogens were found to be mutagenic for strain TA 98 with S-9. Mutagenic activity was also observed for the previously known mutagens benz[a]pyrene, chrysene, benz[a]-anthracene, perylene and beta-naphthylamine, on exposure to strains TA 98 and/or TA 100 with S-9.