In a general population sample from the Detroit site of the Collaborative Genetic Study of Nicotine Dependence (COGEND), we tested Black-White differences in nicotine dependence, measured by "how soon after wake-up the smokers smoked their first cigarette (time to first cigarette TTFC)", and its relationship with number of cigarettes per day (CPD). Analysis was conducted on respondents who have smoked ≥ 100 cigarettes in lifetime and were current smokers (n = 1,442; 1,087 Whites and 355 Blacks). In univariate analysis, we found no significant race differences on time to first cigarette (χ2 = 2.9, p value = 0.41), but significant race differences on CPD (χ2 = 154.3, p < .01), both categorized by the Fagerstrom Test of Nicotine Dependence (FTND) cutoffs. We estimated the probability of TTFC ≤ 30 min given CPD using probit models. The interactions between race and CPD indicated significant differences in dependence at various levels of CPD. The same probability of nicotine dependence was associated with smaller increments in CPD for Blacks than for Whites. The data support the hypothesis that the relationship between CPD and nicotine dependence as reflected in relapse varies by race, and that Black smokers are dependent at lower levels of CPD than Whites.