Previous studies have suggested that self-reported snoring is associated with atherosclerotic vascular diseases. However, the role of self-reported snoring as an independent risk factor for subclinical atherosclerosis has not been well established. This study aimed to evaluate whether and to what extent self-reported snoring is associated with subclinical carotid atherosclerosis after adjusting for traditional cardiovascular risk factors. Carotid intima-media thickness and plaque were investigated with ultrasonography in 1245 urban Chinese aged 50-79 years between September 2007 and November 2007. Information on self-reported snoring and measurements of traditional cardiovascular risk factors was also collected. A total of 1050 participants were involved in the final analysis. The prevalence of self-reported snoring habitually (snoring frequency ≥5 days per week) was 31.5, and 64.3% of the participants in this population had a history of snoring. The mean values of the maximum intima-media thickness of bifurcation and common carotid arteries in snorers were significantly higher than in non-snorers (1.08 ± 0.14 mm versus 1.04 ± 0.14 mm, P < 0.001, in carotid bifurcation; 1.03 ± 0.15 mm versus 1.00 ± 0.15 mm, P = 0.002, in common carotid artery). After adjustment for traditional cardiovascular risk factors, logistic regression analysis showed that the odds ratio of self-reported snoring habitually for increased intima-media thickness and carotid bifurcation plaque was 1.71 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.22-2.39; P = 0.002] and 3.63 (95% CI: 2.57-5.12; P < 0.001), respectively. In conclusion, the current study suggested that self-reported snoring is associated significantly with carotid bifurcation intima-media thickness and the presence of plaque, independent of traditional cardiovascular risk factors.