Cigarette smoking contributes to disproportionate morbidity and mortality among African Americans. Purposes of the study were to describe smoking behavior and test a model of nicotine dependence among African American women. Participants (n = 187) smoked a low rate of high nicotine mentholated cigarettes and had a mean salivary cotinine of 402 ng/mL. The proposed model predicted 48% of variance in nicotine dependence with smoking to cope, number of cigarettes/day, positive outcome expectancies about smoking, and interest in quitting, as significant contributors. Suggested interventions include developing alternative coping skills, cognitive restructuring, and techniques focused on the precontemplation stage of smoking cessation. © 1993 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.