This study examined the association between having a preferred brand of cigarette and smoking in African American, Mexican American, and White 5th, 7th, 9th and 11th graders. The prevalence of having a preferred brand of cigarette increased with grade level, with over 20% of 11th graders reporting having a preference. Brand preference was related to cigarette use in a dose-response fashion for all subgroups, with preference highest among African American students who smoked at least half a pack of cigarettes on a daily basis. There was a strong association between having a brand preference and current daily cigarette use, whereas preference also was related to intention to smoke cigarettes when older. These findings suggest that brand preference may play an important role in cigarette use acquisition and maintenance among adolescents.