Objective: The aim of this study was to assess (1) the association between respiratory symptoms and smoking status, and (2) the association between respiratory symptoms and health-related quality of life (HQoL) in a general population sample in Norway. Methods: The analysis was based on data collected by Statistisk sentralbyrå (SSB) in the "Samordnet levekårsundersøkelse 1998 - Tverrsnitt Tema: Helse , using interviews and questionnaires, including the Short Form-36 HRQoL questionnaire. In total, 10, 000 subjects were randomly sampled from the general population and were invited to participate in the study, and 5,975 participated. Results: Among daily-smokers, 43% had at least one respiratory symptom, compared to 37% of the non-smokers and 35% of occasional-smokers. The daily smokers also had higher odds of having cough and dyspnea. Subjects with one or more respiratory symptom, in particular if they had dyspnea, had reduced physical component summary (PCS) score, indicative of worse physical health. Mental health, as assessed with the mental component summary (MCS) score, was higher in subjects with respiratory symptoms than among those without. Among daily-smokers the PCS was lower than among non-smokers and occasional-smokers, but MCS was higher among smokers than in the other groups. Conclusion: Daily smokers had more respiratory symptoms, including higher odds of having cough and dyspnea, than non-smokers. Subjects with respiratory symptoms had lower PCS score than those without such symptoms. In contrast, subjects with respiratory symptoms had higher MCS score. This pattern of low PCS and high MCS can possibly be attributed to a well-known problem with the SF-36.