Given the previously documented higher rates of smoking among 2-year college students in comparison with 4-year university students, this study compares smoking patterns, attitudes and motives among 2-year and 4-year college students. Two thousand two hundred and sixty-five undergraduate students aged 18-25 years at a 2-year college and a 4-year university completed an online survey in 2008. Current (past 30-day) smoking was reported by 43.5% of 2-year and 31.9% of 4-year college students, and daily smoking was reported by 19.9% of 2-year and 8.3% of 4-year college students. Attending a 2-year college was associated with higher rates of current smoking [odds ratio (OR) = 1.72Ş and daily smoking (OR = 2.84), and with less negative attitudes regarding smoking, controlling for age, gender, ethnicity and parental education. Also, compared with 4-year college student smokers, 2-year college smokers had lower motivation to smoke for social reasons, but more motivation to smoke for affect regulation, after controlling for age, gender, ethnicity and parental education. Two- and 4-year college students report different smoking patterns, attitudes and motives. These distinctions might inform tobacco control messages and interventions targeting these groups of young adults.