Smoking is the single most preventable cause of perinatal morbidity. This study examines smoking behaviors during pregnancy in a high risk population of African Americans. The study also examines risk factors associated with smoking behaviors and cessation in response to a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) intervention. This study is a secondary analysis of data from a randomized controlled trial addressing multiple risks during pregnancy. Five hundred African-American Washington, DC residents who reported smoking in the 6 months preceding pregnancy were randomized to a CBT intervention. Psycho-social and behavioral data were collected. Self-reported smoking and salivary cotinine levels were measured prenatally and postpartum to assess changes in smoking behavior. Comparisons were made between active smokers and those abstaining at baseline and follow-up in pregnancy and postpartum. Sixty percent of participants reported quitting spontaneously during pregnancy. In regression models, smoking at baseline was associated with older age,\a high school education and illicit drug use. At follow-up closest to delivery, smoking was associated with lower education, smoking and cotinine level at baseline and depression. At postpartum, there was a relapse of 34%. Smokers postpartum were significantly more likely to smoke at baseline and use illicit drugs in pregnancy. Mothers in the CBT intervention were less likely to relapse. African-American women had a high spontaneous quit rate and no response to a CBT intervention during pregnancy. Postpartum mothers’ resolve to maintain a quit status seems to wane despite their prolonged period of cessation. CBT reduced postpartum relapse rates.