Lung function was evaluated in a representative population sample of 50-year-0ld men living in one Swedish city. Twenty-four smoking and 15 non-smoking men heterozygous for alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency--that is, with the protease-inhibitor (Pi1 phenotype MZ--were carefully matched for weight and smoking habit with Pi M controls. The pulmonary function of non-smoking Pi MZ subjects did not differ from that of non-smoking Pi M controls. In contrast, smoking heterozygotes showed a significant loss of elastic recoil, enlarged residual volumes, and increased closing capacity but no signs of obstructive ventilatory impairment. Most smoking Pi MZ individuals reported mild exertional dyspnoea.