An interlaboratory study aimed at determining nicotine and cotinine in human serum and urine was carried out. 11 laboratories from 6 countries, all experienced in performing nicotine and cotinine determinations in biological fluids by radioimmunoassay (RIA) and/or gas chromatography (GC) were involved. Each of them received 18 serum and 18 urine samples. The specimens were obtained from 8 smokers and 10 non-smokers; 2 samples from non-smokers were spiked with defined amounts of nicotine and cotinine. All the laboratories distinguished perfectly between the smokers and the non-smokers and according to cotinine levels in serum the laboratories ranked the samples with good agreement. There were systematic differences in the absolute values between the laboratories. The ratios of urinary cotinine concentrations between active and passive smokers differed widely from laboratory to laboratory. The reasons for this are not yet known and necessitate further investigation.