A case-control study was done to examine whether certain environmental or medical factors were associated with meningococcal carriage. Questionnaires were posted to 138 meningococcal carriers and their controls, and to 52 carriers of Neisseria lactamica and their controls. Carriers were matched to controls by age, sex, and area of residence. The overall response rate was 89%. There were no differences in environmental or medical factors between N lactamica carriers and their controls, nor in household crowding, housing conditions, frequency of physical exercise, or upper respiratory disorders between meningococcal carriers and their controls. Active smoking and the presence of other smokers in the household were independently associated with meningococcal carriage; the risk of carriage increased significantly with heavier smoking.