Introduction: Few smoking cessation programs are designed for college students, a unique population that may categorically differ from adolescents and adults, and thus may have different motivations to quit than the general adult population. Understanding college student motives may lead to better cessation interventions tailored to this population. Motivation to quit may differ, however, between racial groups. The current study is a secondary analysis examining primary motives in college student smokers, and differences between Asian American and Caucasian students in smoking frequency, nicotine dependence, and motives to quit. Methods: Participants (N = 97) listed personal motives to quit cigarette smoking, which were then coded into categories: health, personal relationships (e.g., friends, family, romantic partners), self-view (e.g., “addicted” or “not in control”), image in society, impact on others or the environment (e.g., second-hand smoke, pollution), and drain on personal resources (e.g., money, time). Results: Mean number of motives were highest in the category of health, followed by personal relationships, drain on resources, self-view, image, and impact. Asian American students listed significantly fewer motives in the categories of health, self-view and image, and significantly more in the category of personal relationships than Caucasian students. Nicotine dependence was significantly higher for Asian American students. However, frequency of smoking did not differ between groups. Conclusions: Results may inform customization of smoking cessation programs for college students and address relevant culturally specific factors of different racial groups.