Data on smoking and pain symptoms from a random sample (n = 1806) of a general population were used to evaluate the association between chronic pain at various locations and smoking. In both genders current smoking was associated with reports of increased pain in low back, neck and with multiple locations. In a multiple logistic regression analysis current smoking was associated with an increase in widespread chronic musculoskeletal pain (OR 1.60, CI 1.04-2.46, in relation to non-smokers) and chronic low back pain (OR 1.58, CI 1.13-2.20, in relation to non-smokers). A dose-response relationship was found between the daily cigarette consumption and the prevalence of chronic low back pain. Smoking is associated not only with low back pain but also with chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain. No conclusive decrease in pain prevalence was found after quitting smoking. Further studies are necessary to elucidate an aetiologic relationship between smoking and chronic pain.