Impact ionization of exciton states in epitaxial GaN films and GaN/AlGaN quantum-well structures was studied. The study was done using an optical method based on the observation of exciton photoluminescence quenching under application of an electric field. It was established that electron scattering on impurities dominates over that from acoustic phonons in electron relaxation in energy and momentum. The mean free path of the hot electrons was estimated. The hot-electron mean free path in GaN/AlGaN quantum wells was found to be an order of magnitude larger than that in epitaxial GaN films, which is due to the electron scattering probability being lower in the two-dimensional case. (C) 2001 MAIK "Nauka/Interperiodica".