Despite a variety of long-standing tobacco control policies in most countries, smoking remains a source of considerable economic and health costs, resulting in ongoing discussion of potential policy changes. The contribution of retail tobacco distribution to prompting, facilitating and normalising smoking has received increasing attention, but the effect of retail outlets on tobacco consumption is relatively under-researched. In particular, there has been almost no empirical research on whether different retail outlets types have different effects on tobacco consumption by different types of smokers. This paper reports on two large studies examining the purchase behaviour of independent samples of smokers. The results provide the first evidence on the frequency of exposure of adult smokers to tobacco outlets, and show differences in tobacco purchase size across different retailers, and differences in the use of tobacco retailers by different smoker types. Implications for public health and tobacco control policy are discussed.