Ethnic differences in both physiological response to and health consequences of tobacco smoking-some of which have been attributed to ethnic preferences for menthol cigarettes-have been described in the literature. We compared acute physiological responses to smoking in African-American and European-American adolescent menthol cigarette smokers seeking smoking cessation treatment. One-hundred- twenty-eight adolescents (32% African-American, 71% female; mean age 15.16 +/- 1.32 years, mean Fagerström Test of Nicotine Dependence (FTND) score 6.73 +/- 1.53, cigarettes per day (CPD) 16.9 +/- 2.64) participated in an experimental session during which they smoked one menthol cigarette of their usual brand. Blood pressure, heart rate, and exhaled carbon monoxide (CO) concentrations were measured before and after smoking; mean puff volume (mL), puff duration (sec) and maximal puff velocity (mL/sec) during smoking were also determined. Two sample t-tests were performed to assess ethnic differences in smoking topography; analysis of covariance was used to determine whether heart rate and blood pressure after smoking one menthol cigarette varied by ethnicity, after controlling for baseline physiological measures. No significant ethnic differences were observed in either smoking topography or acute cardiovascular response to smoking. These preliminary findings warrant extension to a broader group of nontreatment-seeking adolescent smokers of both ethnicities.