Cigarette smokers (n = 387) completed a questionnaire measure of smoking motives, and subgroups of this sample provided external validation information. Seven factors emerged from a principal components' analysis: automatic, sedative, addictive, stimulation, psychosocial, indulgent and sensorimotor manipulation. A higher-order principal components analysis revealed the presence of two second-order factors. Inspection of the pattern of correlations between factor scores and criterion variables clearly indicated that the first four factors above and their underlying second-order factor are more closely related to nicotine pharmacology and mood-altering effects of nicotine than the latter three motives and their underlying second-order factor. Moreover, the positive correlations between these pharmacological motives and age, coupled with a negative relationship between age and the non-pharmacological motives, support the description of the smoking career as a progressive transfer of reward from non-pharmacological to pharmacological factors. These findings suggest that self-reported reasons for smoking represent more than bias in verbal report.