Many researchers have conceptualized smoking uptake behavior in adolescence as progressing through a sequence of developmental stages. Multiple social, psychological, and biological factors influence this process, and may play different functions at different points in the progression, and play different roles for different people. The major objective of this paper is to review empirical studies of predictors of transitions in stages of smoking progression, and identify similarities and differences related to predictors of stages and transitions across studies. While a number of factors related to stage of progression replicated across studies, few variables uniquely predicted a particular stage or transition in smoking behavior. Subsequently, theoretical considerations related to stage conceptualization and measurement, inter-individual differences in intra-individual change, and the staged or continuous nature of smoking progression are discussed.