Psychosocial tobacco use prevention programs are based on the assumption that refusal skills training will have a suppressive effect on the onset of use by enabling non-using adolescents to refuse offers of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. The present study investigated this assumption with 389 high-risk junior high-school students involved in a prevention program during their seventh, eighth, and ninth-grade years. Direct behavioral measures of refusal skills were taken by having subjects respond to audiotaped offers of tobacco and then rating the quality of their responses. These ratings were then linked to tobacco use measures obtained at the end of each of the 3 study years. Results showed that the comprehensive prevention program produced a favorable trend in delaying or preventing the onset of tobacco use. However, the refusal skills training, which was carried out throughout the 3-year intervention period, produced significant differences in overall refusal skill quality only at the seventh grade. Moreover, refusal skill quality was not related to overall tobacco use or cigarette use at any grade.