click here to jump to start of article
  • Torah Reading: Tzav
Join Our Newsletter

Get latest articles and videos with Jewish inspiration and insights​


I am a long-time cigarette smoker and have recently become more observant of Judaism. Just as we make blessings over food, is there a blessing to be said when smoking?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

The rabbis speak out very strongly against smoking. Since it is so dangerous, it is a violation of the Torah commandment to guard one's health as decreed in Deuteronomy 4:15.

Unfortunately, since smoking is so addictive, for some it is difficult to stop. So while it is clearly forbidden to start, there is a bit more leniency for someone who is already smoking. Though of course all smokers should put in maximum effort to kick the habit.

As for whether to say a blessing, the Mishnah Berurah (210:17) writes: "Regarding those who place tobacco in a pipe and inhale the smoke, Magen Avrahom questions whether this is equivalent to tasting a substance and then spitting it out. The achronim have decided unequivocally not to say a blessing on smoking." The issue is that pleasure for a blessing must be something that is actually consumed, and smoke is not regarded as “consumed.”

It seems also that the fragrance is not considered the pleasure. Aruch HaShulchan (216:4) writes that since the main reason for tobacco is not the fragrance, we do not say a blessing. In fact, the opposite is true; tobacco has a strong and bitter smell. Therefore even if one adds a pleasant fragrance to the tobacco, it is only to cover up the powerful odor – like a bathroom freshener – which one does not say a blessing on.

I once heard someone say facetiously that if any blessing is said, the appropriate text would be "Borei Samei Hamavet" – Who has created potions of death.

Sources: Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe – C.M. 2:76) and Rabbi E. Waldenberg (Tzitz Eliezer 9:33)

More Questions

Due to limited resources, the Ask the Rabbi service is intended for Jews of little background with nowhere else to turn. People with questions in Jewish law should consult their local rabbi. Note that this is not a homework service!

Ask the Aish Rabbi a Question

Give Tzedakah! Help create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.