In evaluating the long term results of surgical treatment of Reinke's oedema, there has been found to be a high incidence of recurrence. The recurrence rate is significantly lower amongst those patients who gave up smoking after treatment. A group of patients with chronic Reinke's oedema were followed for six months. Maximum efforts were made to help the patients to stop smoking. Twenty-nine patients entered the study, but only eight of them (28 per cent) refrained from smoking; all were women (39–70 years) and all experienced reduced discomfort, although none of the voices were restored to normal. Diffuse laryngitis disappeared completely, but the oedema did not disappear entirely in any patient. Before treatment of chronic Reinke's oedema patients must be well advised and informed, and if surgery is decided upon, they must be urged most strongly to stop smoking, if they wish to enhance the possibility of satisfactory long-term results.