To develop effective age-appropriate strategies for smoking cessation, it is important to understand factors associated with readiness to quit smoking. This article presents results from an analysis of the role of symptomatology in the decisions to quit smoking among three age groups (18-34, 35-54, and > or = 55 years) from a larger sample of smokers in a managed-care setting. Two measures of readiness to quit smoking were used: stages of change and intention to stop. Using ordinal logistic regression, we found that smokers in the middle and oldest age groups who had experienced at least three of five symptoms in the previous 2 weeks were more likely to be in higher stages of readiness. Regardless of age, smokers who attributed symptoms to smoking were more motivated to try to quit, whereas those who attributed symptoms to aging were less likely to intend to stop smoking. Findings from this study indicate a symptom-based approach to smoking cessation may be a useful strategy, especially in provider-based interventions.