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To evaluate the prevalence of oral precancerous lesions in textile workers.A cross-sectional study was undertaken to assess a total of 1167 textile factory workers randomly selected from a total of 6947. An overall 97 women and 1070 men aged 18–69 years (mean = 31.8 years) were studied. Regular smoking during the past 6 months was considered as the smoker group. Leukoplakia lesions were classified in accordance to Axell criteria [Axell T, Pindborg JJ, Smith CJ and Van-der-waal I (1996). J Oral Pathol Med 25: 49].The results showed that 115 workers (9.9%) had red and white lesions. Among these 43 positive detections (3.7%) had leukoplakia and six cases (0.5%) had lichen planus. The smoking habits of the workers were limited to cigarette smoking. There was a statistically significant positive correlation between tobacco smoking and oral leukoplakia (P < 0.001).There was a statistically significant positive correlation between tobacco smoking and leukoplakia in this relatively young cohort with generally mild tobacco use. The prevalence of leukoplakia had an inverse relationship with the level of education.