This study explores the combined effect of message framing, intention to quit smoking, and nicotine dependence on the persuasiveness of smoking cessation messages. Pre- and post-message measures of quit intention, attitude toward smoking cessation, and perceived behavioral control were taken in two separate waves from current cigarette smokers with varying levels of nicotine dependence (N=151). In the second wave, participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups. In the first group, participants read a smoking cessation message which emphasized the benefits of quitting (positive frame). In the second group participants read a message which emphasized the costs of not quitting (negative frame). Results show that smokers' intentions to quit smoking and their level of nicotine dependence jointly influence the persuasiveness of positive and negative message frames. When nicotine dependence and quitting intention are both high, a negative frame works best. Conversely, a positive frame is preferable when nicotine dependence or quitting intention is low. Smokers' level of processing is proposed as the underlying mechanism explaining the different effects of message frames.