Objectives. The β 2-adrenergic receptor (ADRB2) is located on smooth muscle cells and is an important regulator of smooth muscle tone. The Thr164Ile polymorphism (rs1800888) in the ADRB2 gene is rare but has profound functional consequences on receptor function and could cause lifelong elevated smooth muscle tone. We tested the hypothesis that Thr164Ile is associated with increased blood pressure, increased frequency of hypertension and increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Subjects. A total of 66750 individuals from two large Danish general population studies were genotyped, and 1943 Thr164Ile heterozygotes and 16 homozygotes were identified. Results. Thr164Ile genotype was associated with increased systolic and diastolic blood pressure in women (trend: P=0.04 and 0.02): systolic and diastolic blood pressure increased by 5% and 2%, respectively, in female homozygotes compared with female noncarriers. All female Thr164Ile homozygotes had hypertension compared with 58% of female heterozygotes and 54% of female noncarriers (chi-square: P=0.001). Female Thr164Ile homozygotes and heterozygotes had odds ratios for ischaemic heart disease (IHD) of 2.93 (0.56-15.5) and 1.28 (1.03-1.61), respectively, compared with female noncarriers (trend: P=0.007). These differences were not observed in men. Furthermore, Gly16Arg (rs1042713) and Gln27Glu (rs1042714) in the ADRB2 gene were not associated with blood pressure, hypertension or CVD either in the population overall or in women and men separately. Conclusions. ADRB2 Thr164Ile is associated with increased blood pressure, increased frequency of hypertension and increased risk of IHD amongst women in the general population. These findings, particularly for homozygotes, are novel.