Lungs are pharmacologically active organs and the pulmonary drug metabolism is of interest for inhaled drugs design. Carboxylesterases (CESs) are enzymes catalyzing the hydrolysis of many structurally different ester, amide and carbamate chemicals, including prodrugs. For the first time, the presence, kinetics, inhibition and inter-individual variations of the major liver CES isozymes (CES1 and CES2) were investigated in cytosol and microsomes of human lungs from 20 individuals using 4-nitrophenyl acetate (pNPA), 4-methylumbelliferyl acetate (4-MUA), and fluorescein diacetate (FD) as substrates the rates of hydrolysis (Vmax) for pNPA and 4-MUA, unlike FD, were double in microsomes than in cytosol. In these cellular fractions, the Vmax of pNPA, as CES1 marker, were much greater (30–50-fold) than those of FD, as a specific CES2 marker. Conversely, the Km values were comparable suggesting the involvement of the same enzymes. Inhibition studies revealed that the FD hydrolysis was inhibited by bis-p-nitrophenylphosphate, phenylmethanesulfonyl fluoride, and loperamide (specific for CES2), whereas the pNPA and 4-MUA hydrolysis inhibition was limited. Inhibitors selective for other esterases missed having any effect on above-mentioned activities. In cytosol and microsomes of 20 lung samples, inter-individual variations were found for the hydrolysis of pNPA (2.5–5-fold), FD or 4-MUA (8–15-fold). Similar variations were also observed in CES1 and CES2 gene expression, although determined in a small number (n = 9) of lung samples. The identification of CES1 and CES2 and their variability in human lungs are important for drug metabolism and design of prodrugs which need to be activated in this organ.