Aim: This study explored the motivations behind illicit tobacco use in Australia. A key focus was to investigate the hypothesis that the primary motivation for illicit tobacco use is its low cost in comparison to the price of legal tobacco. Methods: An Australian tobacco usage telephone survey was conducted in 2007. Illicit tobacco smokers completed a longer version of the questionnaire, with questions relating to illicit tobacco usage and perceptions. Findings: Of the current smokers of illicit tobacco surveyed, almost half would consider increasing illicit tobacco consumption if the cost of legal tobacco were to increase to four times the price of illicit tobacco, although others stated consumption would remain the same regardless of such a price change. Almost all former smokers of illicit tobacco claimed that price did not influence the decision to stop smoking illicit tobacco. Conclusions: Some illicit tobacco smokers appear to be sensitive to the price of tobacco products, but price is not always an underlying motivator. Personal preference and supply also influence illicit tobacco consumption. The findings suggest that reducing the availability of illicit tobacco would be a useful strategy for combating the growing illicit tobacco problem.