We examined changes in puffing behavior during the course of a single cigarette in 76 subjects seen on 6 occasions each (456 cigarettes). The puff volume fell on average by 33% during a cigarette and puff duration by 39%, the interpuff interval rose by 75%, but the pressure drop and the maximum flow and pressure achieved during puffing hardly changed. There were highly significant differences between subjects but not between sessions, or when subjects were grouped according to tar yield of the cigarette or by sex. Individual puff volumes with a single cigarette were highly correlated with puff duration (except in a few individuals with irregular puffing patterns), but not generally with maximum flow rate, suggesting that most smokers reduce volume by taking shorter puffs. This is unlikely to reflect mechanical factors or smoke temperature, and may be a response to changing smoke composition. Variation in puffing patterns between individuals may reflect differences in sensitivity to smoke components and individuals who show little fall in puff volume also show small responses on switching to cigarettes with different tar and nicotine yields. The individual response to smoke might be assessed by an analysis of puffing on a single cigarette.