Abstract Background Many studies examining the social correlates of tobacco use among adolescents fail to recognise theories of health behaviour and health promotion in their analysis. Using the Socio-Ecologiocal Model (SEM) we assessed the demographic and social factors associated with current cigarette smoking among adolescents in Thailand. Method A secondary analysis of cross-sectional data from the Thai Global Youth Tobacco Survey (Thai GYTS) 2005 was analysed to obtain prevalence of selected attributes and assess factors associated with current cigarette smoking. Current cigarette smoking was defined as having smoked a cigarette, even a single puff, in the last 30 days. Logistic regression was conducted to estimate the level of association between the explanatory variables and current smoking. Results Of the 18,368 respondents, 22.0% males and 5.2% females reported being current smokers (p < 0.001). In multivariate logistic regression analysis, current smoking was negatively associated with the perception that smoking is harmful to health (OR = 0.47; 95% CI [0.33, 0.66]) and positively associated with male gender (OR = 3.46; 95% CI [2.72, 4.86]) and having smoking parents (OR = 1.62; 95% CI [1.25, 2.11]) and friends (OR = 5.07; 95% CI [3.54, 7.25]) for some friends smokers and OR = 26.71; 95% CI [18.26, 39.06] for most or all friends smokers. Compared to subjects 11 = 12 year olds, those who were older were less likely to report smoking (OR = 0.49; 95% CI [0.36, 0.66] for 13 years olds, OR = 0.56; 95% CI [0.40, 0.79] for 14 years olds, OR = 0.59; 95% CI [0.41, 0.86] for 15 years olds). Conclusion Current cigarette smoking was associated with male gender, smoking parents or closest peers. Perception that smoking was harmful to health was associated with less likelihood of being a current smoker.