Cigarette smoking and alcohol use habits in Finland and Sweden were studied using data from the Finnish and Swedish studies on like-sexed adult twin pairs aged 18-47 (total of 20 056 pairs). Finnish men were heavier consumers of tobacco and alcohol than Swedish men. When heavy consumers (greater than 500g of alcohol/month and greater than 20 cigarettes/day) were considered, the prevalence rate was 9.7% in Finnish men and 5.1% in Swedish men. This difference might account for the higher morbidity in Finland than in Sweden from many smoking- and alcohol-associated diseases. Genetic factors in smoking and alcohol use were assessed by comparing observed and expected coincidence rates, and by multivariate analyses. Genetic and familial effects were defined as an excess coincidence in monozygotic (MZ) pairs compared to dizygotic (DZ) pairs, and by an increased DZ coincidence rate compared to that expected. Significant genetic and familial effects were observed for cigarette smoking, and for smoking more than one pack of cigarettes a day. Significant familial effects for alcohol use was observed, and a significant genetic effect was obtained for men. A significant genetic effect could not be observed for the combined heavy use of alcohol and heavy smoking. The genetic and familial effects seemed to be mostly independent of country and sex.