In this randomized, primary prevention trial of 1,232 high-risk, middle-aged Oslo men, advice during 5 years about diet and smoking brought about a significant reduction (47%) in incidence of first major coronary heart disease (CHD) events in the intervention group compared with controls. Data are presented indicating that the net difference of 10% in serum cholesterol between groups was the main cause for this achievement and that the antismoking factor, due to a rather small net difference in quit rates (17 and 24% in control and intervention groups, respectively), contributed to a lesser degree. Analysis of social class reveals that the favorable results in the intervention group were present in all social strata, despite the unexpected finding that lower class men experienced a lower CHD incidence than men of higher socioeconomic status. Antismoking advice was especially effective in lower class intervention group men. Among cigarette quitters, lower social class men reduced their serum cholesterol more than higher social class men. However, for the total intervention group, higher status men had at least as great a reduction in serum cholesterol as did lower status men. With endpoint follow-up extended to 8.5-10 years, additional cases of CHD (nonfatal and fatal myocardial infarction and sudden death) numbered 7 and 10 in the intervention and control groups, respectively; CHD cases throughout the trial totaled 25 and 45 (P approximately equal to 0.02). Total deaths numbered 19 and 31, respectively (P approximately equal to 0.05).