In this article an argument is put forward that narratives of health and illness that are drawn from conversational rather than textual sources require a particular type of analysis. In common with other research on talk, it is argued that conversational narration is a joint activity and that the form and context of its telling can tell us as much about lay understandings of health as can the content of its stories. Analyses of narratives co-told during an interview are presented to consider how narration is used to rehearse plausible and implausible past, current and future actions and to bring off an entitlement to an unhealthy habit. The empirical material is drawn from a single interview selected from a collection of interviews on the subject of smoking. Only one interview is drawn upon to allow the narrative rather than the semiotic structurings of the material to be represented and analysed in depth.