Tea and its constituents have demonstrated anticarcinogenic activity in both in vitro and in vivo animal studies. Results from epidemiologic studies, however, have been inconsistent. Some factors that coexist with tea consumption, such as cigarette smoking, may confound or modify the association between tea consumption and cancer risk. The objective of this study was to comprehensively evaluate the association between green tea consumption and colorectal cancer risk in a population-based prospective cohort study, the Shanghai Men's Health Study. The analysis included 60,567 Chinese men aged 40-74 years at baseline. During ∼5 years of follow-up, 243 incident cases of colorectal cancer were identified. Multivariable Cox regression models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of developing colorectal cancer. Regular green tea consumption (ever drank green tea at least three times per week for more than six consecutive months) was associated with reduced risk of colorectal cancer in non-smokers (multivariable-adjusted HR = 0.54, 95% CI: 0.34-0.86). The risk decreased as the amount of green tea consumption increased (P(trend) = 0.01). Each 2 g increment of intake of dry green tea leaves per day (approximately equivalent to the amount of tea in a tea bag) was associated with a 12% reduction in risk (HR = 0.88, 95% CI: 0.78-0.99). No significant association was found among smokers (HR = 0.94, 95% CI: 0.66-1.34). This study suggests that regular consumption of green tea may reduce colorectal cancer risk among non-smokers.