Evidence is accumulating that exposure to cigarette smoke (CS) increases the risk of developing acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia, which in turn is the leading cause of ARDS. Chronic smokers have increased rates of pneumococcal colonization and develop more severe pneumococcal pneumonia than nonsmokers; yet mechanistic connections between CS exposure, bacterial pneumonia, and ARDS pathogenesis remain relatively unexplored. We exposed mice to 3 wk of moderate whole body CS or air, followed by intranasal inoculation with an invasive serotype of S. pneumoniae. CS exposure alone caused no detectable lung injury or bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) inflammation. During pneumococcal infection, CS-exposed mice had greater survival than air-exposed mice, in association with reduced systemic spread of bacteria from the lungs. However, when mice were treated with antibiotics after infection to improve clinical relevance, the survival benefit was lost, and CS-exposed mice had more pulmonary edema, increased numbers of BAL monocytes, and elevated monocyte and lymphocyte chemokines. CS-exposed antibiotic-treated mice also had higher serum surfactant protein D and angiopoietin-2, consistent with more severe lung epithelial and endothelial injury. The results indicate that acute CS exposure enhances the recruitment of immune cells to the lung during bacterial pneumonia, an effect that may provide microbiological benefit but simultaneously exposes the mice to more severe inflammatory lung injury. The inclusion of antibiotic treatment in preclinical studies of acute lung injury in bacterial pneumonia may enhance clinical relevance, particularly for future studies of current or emerging tobacco products.