Background: Use of cigarettes and cannabis frequently co-occurs. We examine the role of genetic and environmental influences on variation in and covariation between tobacco cigarette and cannabis use across European-American (EA) and African-American (AA) women. Methods: Data on lifetime cannabis and cigarette use were drawn from interviews of 956 AA and 3557 EA young adult female twins and non-twin same sex female full siblings. Twin modeling was used to decompose variance in and covariance between cigarette and cannabis use into additive genetic, shared, special twin and non-shared environmental sources. Results: Cigarette use was more common in EAs (75.3%, 95% C.I. 73.8-76.7%) than AAs (64.2%, 95% C.I. 61.2-67.2%) while cannabis use was marginally more commonly reported by AAs (55.5%, 95% C.I. 52.5-58.8%) than EAs (52.4%, 95% C.I. 50.7-54.0%). Additive genetic factors were responsible for 43-66% of the variance in cigarette and cannabis use. Broad shared environmental factors (shared + special twin) played a more significant role in EA (23-29%) than AA (2-15%) women. In AA women, the influence of non-shared environment was more pronounced (42-45% vs. 11-19% in EA women). There was strong evidence for the same familial influences underlying use of both substances (rA = 0.82-0.89; rC+T = 0.70-0.75). Non-shared environmental factors were also correlated but less so (rE = 0.48-0.66). No racial/ethnic differences were apparent in these sources of covariation. Conclusion: Heritability of cigarette and cannabis use is comparable across racial/ethnic groups. Differences in the contribution of shared and non-shared environmental influences indicate that different factors may shape substance use in EA and AA women.