The paper draws on qualitative interviews with a sample of male and female smokers who live in areas of disadvantage in Edinburgh, Scotland, to examine their perceptions of habit and addiction and the implications for smoking behaviour. The paper shows how smokers have a sophisticated understanding of these concepts and the way in which they affected their smoking behaviour across the course of a 'typical' day. The paper argues that daily contexts which smokers inhabit either constrain or facilitate smoking and as such play a central role in the way in which they smoke. In contexts where smoking was constrained (by externally or self-imposed restrictions) smokers described how they employed various strategies to achieve and maintain what they perceived to be a desirable level of nicotine intake, such as by anticipatory smoking. Where restrictions on smoking were absent, men's and women's smoking appeared remarkably similar. However, for the most part, the contexts which men and women inhabited over the course of the day differed, with women assuming the largest share of domestic and child care responsibilities. Apparent gender differences in smoking behaviour appeared to be related to the different daily contexts which men and women inhabited. Crucially, the influences on smoking described by respondents in this study were closely related to circumstances of socio-economic deprivation.