The objective of this study was to characterize the impact of cigarette smoke exposure on lung immune and inflammatory processes. BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice were exposed to cigarette smoke for 4 days (acute) or at least 5 weeks (prolonged). Both mouse strains manifested an inflammatory response after acute smoke exposure, characterized by an influx of neutrophils and mononuclear cells. Multiplex analysis revealed a greater than twofold increase of the cytokines IL-1alpha, -5, -6, and -18, as well as the chemokines monocyte chemotactic protein-1 and -3, macrophage inflammatory protein-1alpha, -beta, and -gamma, -2, -3beta, macrophage defined chemokine, granulocyte chemotactic protein-2, and interferon-gamma-inducible protein-10. In BALB/c mice, neutrophilia persisted after prolonged exposure, whereas C57BL/6 showed evidence of attenuated neutrophilia both in the bronchoalveolar lavage and the lungs. In both mouse strains, cigarette smoke exposure was associated with an expansion of mature (CD11c(hi)/major histocompatibility complex class II(hi)) myeloid dendritic cells; we observed no changes in plasmacytoid dendritic cells. Lymphocytes in the lungs displayed an activated phenotype that persisted for CD4 T cells only after prolonged exposure. In BALB/c mice, T cells acquired T helper (Th) 1 and Th2 effector function after 5 weeks of smoke exposure, whereas, in C57BL/6 mice, neither Th1 nor Th2 cells were detected. In both mouse strains, cigarette smoke exposure led to an accumulation of FoxP3+ T regulatory cells in the lungs. Studies in RAG1 knockout mice suggest that these regulatory cells may participate in controlling smoke-induced inflammation. Acute and prolonged cigarette smoke exposure was associated with inflammation, activation of the adaptive immune system, and expansion of T regulatory cells in the lungs.