1. We hypothesized that probucol, an oral hypocholesterolaemic agent, can suppress the oxidant stress induced by acute tobacco smoke inhalation in rats. We determined lung tissue glutathione (reduced and oxidized), lipid peroxide, tocopherol and plasma elastase inhibitory capacity, ferroxidase activity and lipid peroxide in rats after inhalation of tobacco smoke. 2. Rats treated with the probucol diet for 3 days or 4 weeks equally showed no suppression of plasma elastase inhibitory capacity and ferroxidase activity compared with control rats after acute tobacco smoke inhalation, although both animals treated with probucol for 3 days or 4 weeks had pharmacologically effective concentrations of probucol to lower plasma cholesterol but plasma cholesterol in rats treated with probucol for 3 days was still in the normal range. 3. Probucol treatment for 4 weeks lessened tobacco smoke-induced suppression of lung tissue glutathione, attenuated tobacco smoke-induced increases in lung tissue lipid peroxide and did not alter lung tissue tocopherol compared with control (lungs). 4. These findings demonstrate that probucol, via its antioxidant ability, confers a protective effect on lung exposed to acute tobacco smoke inhalation.