After a steady increase since the 1950s, laryngeal cancer mortality had tended to level off since the early 1980s in men from most European countries. To update trends in laryngeal cancer mortality in Europe, age-standardized (world standard) mortality rates per 100,000 were derived from the WHO mortality database for 33 European countries over the period 1980–2001. Jointpoint analysis was used to identify significant changes in mortality rates. In the European Union (EU) as a whole, male mortality declined by 0.8% per year between 1980 and 1989, by 2.8% between 1989 and 1995, by 5.3% between 1995 and 1998, and by 1.5% thereafter (rates were 5.1/100,000 in 1980–1981 and 3.3/100,000 in 2000–2001). This mainly reflects a decrease in rates in men from western and southern European countries, which had exceedingly high rates in the past. Male laryngeal mortality rose up to the early 1990s, and leveled off thereafter in several countries from central and eastern Europe. In 2000–2001 there was still a 10–15-fold variation in male laryngeal mortality between the highest rates in Croatia (7.9/100,000) and Hungary (7.7/100,000) and the lowest ones in Sweden (0.5/100,000) and Finland (0.8/100,000). Laryngeal cancer mortality was comparatively low in women from most European countries, with stable rates around 0.3/100,000 in the EU as a whole over the last 2 decades. Laryngeal cancer trends should be interpreted in terms of patterns and changes in exposure to alcohol and tobacco. Despite recent declines, the persistence of a wide variability in male laryngeal cancer mortality indicates that there is still ample scope for prevention of laryngeal cancer in Europe. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.