Cigarette smoke (CS) is a major cause of lung cancer and a contributor to the development of a wide range of other malignancies. There is an acute need to develop a methodology that can rapidly assess the potential carcinogenic properties of the genotoxic agents present in CS. We recently reported that exposure of normal human bronchial epithelial cells (NHBEs) or A549 pulmonary carcinoma cells to CS induces the activation of ATM through its phosphorylation on Ser1981 and phosphorylation of histone H2AX on Ser139 (gammaH2AX) most likely in response to the formation of potentially carcinogenic DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). To obtain a more complete view of the DNA damage response (DDR) we explored the correlation between ATM activation, H2AX phosphorylation, activation of Chk2 through its phosphorylation on Thr68, and phosphorylation of p53 on Ser15 in NHBE and A549 cell exposed to CS. Multiparameter analysis by laser scanning cytometry made it possible to relate these DDR events, detected immunocytochemically, with cell cycle phase. The CS-dose-dependent induction and increase in the extent of phosphorylation of ATM, Chk2, H2AX, and p53 were seen in both cell types. ATM and Chk2 were phosphorylated approximately 1 h prior to phosphorylation of H2AX and p53. The dephosphorylation of ATM, Chk2, and H2AX was seen after 2 h following CS exposure. The dose-dependency and kinetics of DDR were essentially similar in both cell types, which provide justification for the use of A549 cells in the assessment of genotoxicity of CS in lieu of normal bronchial epithelial cells. The observation that DDR was more pronounced in S-phase cells is consistent with the mechanism of induction of DSBs occurring as a result of collision of replication forks with primary lesions such as DNA adducts that can be caused by CS-generated oxidants. The cytometric assessment of CS-induced DDR provides a means to estimate the genotoxicity of CS and to explore the mechanisms of the response as a function of cell cycle phase and cell type.