After decades of rapid economic development, China is facing severe environmental problems. In particular, smog in urban areas has recently attracted a great deal of scientific and media attention both domestically and internationally. Our focus in this article is on public perceptions of smog in the northern city of Tangshan, which is routinely ranked as one of the urban areas with the worst air quality in the nation. In this article, we present the results of qualitative interviews and quantitative surveys with 341 urban residents. We examine how these residents perceive and weigh the importance of various aspects related to quality of life, including their experience with air pollution. Study participants considered environmental quality an issue of lower priority than many others; however, they surprisingly ranked it over economic concerns such as jobs and income. Their responses suggest that, for many urban residents, environmental problems like smog are fundamentally linked to basic quality of life concerns such as physical health and family well-being. We interpret our findings in the context of literature on the rise of China's middle class, the rise of environmental consciousness, and the role of gender in mediating perceptions of pollution and family health. We also consider the implications of these findings for the control and remediation of air pollution in China today.