Used an ecological analysis employing multilevel random-effects regression analyses to model Level 1 (individual and social) and Level 2 (environmental) correlates of smoking initiation and continued smoking among 6th-, 7th-, and 8th-grade students. Data from 5,234 youth in 11 Midwestern communities were examined. Results indicate higher levels of retail tobacco availability (RTA) were associated with increased odds that a youth initiated smoking but not continued smoking. Among the Level 1 factors, youth who were older, male, had an adult tobacco user in the home, and had more peers who use tobacco had increased odds of initiating smoking. In contrast, only the presence of an adult tobacco user in the home and the number of peers who use tobacco were associated with increased odds that a youth continued smoking. Examining individual, social, and environmental factors simultaneously provides a clearer and more accurate model of these complex ecological influences.