This study compared smokers' expectancies for the full act of smoking with those for nicotine per se by means of a word association task. Smokers (N = 201) were randomized to receive instructions to complete either "Smoking makes one ____." or "Nicotine makes one ____." with as many words as possible within 30 s. Results indicated that smokers held similar expectancies for smoking and nicotine; however, negative consequences (e.g., health risks) were more associated with smoking than with nicotine, and addiction expectancies were more associated with nicotine than with smoking. These findings suggest that smokers have a more realistic conceptualization of nicotine's role in smoking than had been indicated from earlier surveys. These findings have important implications for both nicotine-based and behavioral interventions, as well as for experimental designs that rely upon the perceived manipulation of nicotine content. © 2008 American Psychological Association.