The impact of gender, use of oral contraceptive steroids (OCS), coffee consumption and of smoking on the metabolism of sparteine, caffeine, and paracetamol was studied in 194 randomly selected subjects (98 male and 95 female). Thirty-eight of the male volunteers were cigarette smokers, 40 of the female subjects were smokers and/or users of OCS. The metabolic ratio of sparteine oxidation (MRs) showed a trimodal distribution. 7.7% of the subjects had a MRs > 20 and thus were poor metabolizers (PMs). Within the extensive metabolizer (EM) subjects, a distinct subgroup accounting for 11% was observed with 20 > MRs > 1.2. Six of the 15 phenotypical PMs were heterozygous EMs by genotyping. This indicates the existence of one or several CYP2D6 mutations which cannot be identified by the currently employed genotyping methods. In each subgroup, i.e. smokers/OCS and non-smokers/non-OCS, the cumulative frequency distribution of the heterozygous (wt/B) phenotype caused a shift to higher MRs compared with the wild-type homozygotes (wt/wt). Thus, for the in vivo activity of CYP2D6, genetic determinants prevail over environmental factors. Smoking, use of oral contraceptive steroids, caffeine consumption, or gender had no influence on sparteine metabolism. The distribution of the paracetamol glucuronide/paracetamol metabolic ratio appeared to be unimodal although skewed. Glucuronidation capacity was clearly affected by gender, OCS use and smoking. It was higher in male than in female subjects. Male smokers had the highest, and female non-smokers/non-OCS users the lowest metabolic ratio. CYP1A2 activity, as determined by a caffeine metabolic ratio ((AFMU + 1X + 1U)/1, 7U), was multimodally distributed and was clearly increased in smokers. It was significantly correlated to paracetamol glucoronidation in male heavy smokers (r=0.85), suggesting an element of co-regulation of CYP1A2 and of paracetamol conjugating UDP-glucuronosyltransferase isozymes, including UGTI.6.