Although the prevalence of serum precipitating antibodies for farmer's lung disease (FLD) is lower in smokers than in nonsmokers and FLD predominates in nonsmokers, the affects of smoking on the clinical course of the disease is not known. We compared the clinical findings and the prognosis between 12 smokers (SM-FLD) and 31 non-smokers with FLD (NS-FLD). There was no difference in age, sex, working years on farm, clinical symptoms, laboratory findings, radiographic findings, between the two groups. However, for the type of onset on the first visit for FLD, "acute single episode" type was less common, and "recurrent" and "insidious onset" types were more common in SM-FLD than in NS-FLD (8.3 vs 58.1, 91.7 vs 41.9%, respectively, p < 0.05). Although working status and mask wearing status were not significantly different between the two groups after the diagnosis of FLD, patients with symptoms and/or radiographic abnormalities of FLD of more than 6 months were found more frequently in SM-FLD than in NS-FLD (66.7 vs 19.4%, p < 0.005). And also SM-FLD had more recurrences of FLD than NS-FLD after the initial diagnosis of FLD (1.58 +/- 1.56 vs 0.47 +/- 1.07, p < 0.05). SM-FLD tended to have lower % VC than NS-FLD (73.6 +/- 7.4 vs 88.5 +/- 3.9%, respectively, p = 0.06). Regarding the prognosis, the 10-year survival rates were 70.7% in SM-FLD, and 91.5% in NS-FLD (p < 0.05). These results suggest that smoking may make FLD insidious and chronic, and deteriorates the clinical outcome.