The use of oral snuff is a widespread habit in Sweden. We investigated whether the use of Swedish moist snuff leads to an increasing risk of oral cancer. Other risk factors such as smoking tobacco and alcoholic beverages were also investigated. Our study comprised 410 patients with oral cancer, from the period 1980-1989, and 410 matched controls. All subjects received a mailed questionnaire. The response rates were 96% and 91% for cases and controls, respectively. In the study, a total of 20% of all subjects, cases and controls, were active or ex-snuff users. The univariate analysis did not show any increased risk [odds ratio (OR) 0.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.4-1.1] for active snuff users. We found an increased risk (OR 1.8, CI 1.1-2.7) for oral cancer among active smokers. Alcohol consumption showed the strongest risk for oral cancer. Among consumers of beer, an increased risk of 1.9 (CI 0.9-3.9) was found. Corresponding ORs for wine and liquor were 1.3 (CI 0.9-1.8) and 1.6 (CI 1.1-2.3), respectively. A dose-response effect was observed. Although not statistically significant, a multivariate analysis similarly suggested that the most important risk factors were beer and liquor consumption, followed by smoking.