Background: In the past years, significant progress has been made to develop and use experimental settings for extensive data collection on tobacco smoke exposure and tobacco smoke exposure-associated diseases. Due to the growing number of such data, there is a need for domain-specific standard ontologies to facilitate the integration of tobacco exposure data. Results: The CSEO (version 1.0) is composed of 20091 concepts. The ontology in its current form is able to capture a wide range of cigarette smoke exposure concepts within the knowledge domain of exposure science with a reasonable sensitivity and specificity. Moreover, it showed a promising performance when used to answer domain expert questions. The CSEO complies with standard upper-level ontologies and is freely accessible to the scientific community through a dedicated wiki at https://publicwiki-01.fraunhofer.de/CSEO-Wiki/index.php/Main_Page. Conclusions: The CSEO has potential to become a widely used standard within the academic and industrial community. Mainly because of the emerging need of systems toxicology to controlled vocabularies and also the lack of suitable ontologies for this domain, the CSEO prepares the ground for integrative systems-based research in the exposure science.