A case-control study involving interviews with 227 lung-cancer cases and 227 matched hospital controls was conducted in Heilongjiang Province in northeast China to examine the influence of dietary factors on the risk of developing lung cancer. Lung-cancer cases were all incident cases judged to be suitable candidates for tumor removal by surgery. Controls were selected among hospitalized patients with non-neoplastic and non-lung disease. The overall male lung-cancer risks associated with cigarette smoking were similar to those reported in other Chinese studies but quite low compared to risks in Western countries. However, the subjects in this study were relatively young (average age 53.2), had started to smoke on average at a relatively old age (21.3 years), and only smoked an average of 18.7 cigarettes per day. Lung-cancer risk was not strongly associated with any of the nutrients examined, when all cases were compared to all controls. However, the data were suggestive of differences in the relationship of diet to risk among smokers and non-smokers. Cautious interpretation is required because of the wide confidence intervals due to limited sample size. Among the smokers, only higher beta-carotene was associated with estimates suggesting a lowered risk. Among non-smokers, the evidence suggested that increased vegetable consumption might reduce risk, consumption of any fruit might reduce risk but beta-carotene was unrelated to risk. The differences observed in the relationship of diet to lung-cancer risk between Chinese smokers and non-smokers warrant further study.