Attendance of a behavioural support programme facilitates smoking cessation. Disadvantaged smokers have been shown to attend less than their more affluent peers. We need to gain in-depth insight into underlying reasons for differing attendance behaviour in disadvantaged smokers, to better address this issue. This study aims to explore the underlying motivations, barriers and social support of smokers exhibiting different patterns of attendance at a free smoking cessation behavioural support programme in a disadvantaged neighbourhood of The Netherlands.In 29 smokers undertaking smoking cessation group therapy or telephone counselling in a disadvantaged neighbourhood, qualitative interviews were completed, coded and analysed. Major themes were motivations, barriers to attend and social support. Motivations and social support were analysed with reference to the self-determination theory.Two distinct patterns of attendance emerged: those who missed up to two sessions ("frequent attenders"), and those who missed more than two sessions ("infrequent attenders"). The groups differed in their motivations to attend, barriers to attendance, and in the level of social support they received. In comparison with the infrequent attenders, frequent attenders more often had intrinsic motivation to attend (e.g. enjoyed attending), and named more self-determined extrinsic motivations to attend, such as commitment to attendance and wanting to quit. Most of those mentioning intrinsic motivation did not mention a desire to quit as a motivation for attendance. No organizational barriers to attendance were mentioned by frequent attenders, such as misunderstandings around details of appointments. Frequent attenders experienced more social support within and outside the course.Motivation to attend behavioural support, as distinct from motivation to quit smoking, is an important factor in attendance of smoking cessation courses in disadvantaged areas. Some focus on increasing motivation to attend may help to prevent participants missing sessions.