Abstract Tobacco chippers are an anomalous group of smokers who, while having smoked regularly for years, have avoided the clutches of nicotine dependence. In an attempt to better understand the factors associated with nondependent cigarette smoking, this paper describes a study in which matched groups of regular smokers, chippers, and nonsmokers were compared on a number of personality and psychosocial variables believed relevant to drug-seeking behavior. The strongest finding indicated that sensation seeking best discriminates among the three groups, with nonsmokers clearly viewing themselves as more socially inhibited and less interested in pursuing sensations relative to both regular smokers and chippers, both of whom evidenced comparable scores. Regular smokers evidenced less self- control, or restraint, and appeared more impulsive and unable to resist temptation, compared to chippers and nonsmokers. Surprisingly, none of the groups could be differentiated on the basis of perceived stress, coping, or social support. Even among the personality variables, however, the effect sizes were relatively small, indicating that these differences in personality cannot fully account for chipper's resistance to dependence.