is smoking cigarettes a sin?

i have recently, with help from a variety of christian sources, overcome my physical and psychological addictions to cigarettes, so i do not live with that horrible problem any more. nevertheless, for my benefit (if i should ever need to confess and serve penance) and for the benefit of any others who read this thread and who may smoke cigarettes, i ask: is smoking cigarettes a sin, according to the catholic church?

personally (for what that’s worth), i would imagine it to be a venial sin, unless a smoker continues with her or his habit for a long while in full sight of god with full knowledge that she or he is doing something terrible to her or his body and to the others around her or him, in which case i would guess that such long-term smoking might be considered a mortal sin.

please help

No, its not.

Yes it can be sinful…

Whitecrayon, do you think smoking is good for your health? I saw both my parents and two beloved aunts die of cancer caused by smoking, of a stroke accelerated by smoking, by pneumonia caused by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which is mostly caused by smoking, and by Coronary Artery Disease, which is accelerated by smoking.

Do you want to go down that path? :sad_bye:

no, jenny, i don’t want to go down that path. thank you for the reminders. i know that smoking cigarettes is one of the stupidest things a human being can do and that the chemicals from cigarettes destroy all of the body’s physiological systems. i am very glad i have kicked the smoking habit, and i pray that i will never smoke again!

Smoking per se is not a sin but excess use of tobacco is.

if smoking is a sin then 1000 of catholic priests and those in religious orders are commiting a sin. as i know of several nuns ,brothers and priests that smoke cigarettes and they do not feel they are commiting a sin. i smoked for 30 years before i quite and never once at confession told the priest i was a smoker as i do not feel this is a sin… nor do any catholic priests that smoke. even our church pastor smokes.

One of the arguments that is used to support masturbation being a sin is that it is a disordered use of our sexual organs. Well, that same argument can be applied to the lungs. Our lungs were made for sustaining life by exchanging oxygen in the blood. And indeed the imagery of breath and life in the Bible elevate this function even higher. The lungs were not made to be a drug delivery system for an addictive drug. Yet people smoke cigarettes and do exactly that. Furthermore this disordered use of the lungs reduces the effectiveness of this life-sustaining organ. And it makes the smoker a slave to the drug. So if masturbation is a sin, surely smoking is a worse sin, right?

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Thats not correct. Masturbation (without climaxing) as foreplay (before completing the sex act inside the wife) within marriage is not a sin so it is wrong to say its a disordered use of sexual organs.
As for tobacco the Church teaches that it is only EXCESS use of tobacco that is a sin.

No, if not done to excess. Tobacco used in moderation is not as harmful for everyone; a lot depends of genetic factors. I smoke cigarettes occasionally, but have never developed an addiction.

Use something like a pipe or a good cigar – no smoking is good for you perse, but it isn’t always unhealthy, and in any event isn’t a sin. Your body is a temple of the holy spirit – incense it!

Are you saying that the long list of people who die from preventable lung cancer is exceeded by the list of people who die from masturbation? Where is the support for that statistic?

I smoke cigarettes occasionally, but have never developed an addiction.

Then you are one of the lucky few. The plethora of aids to quitting smoking testify to the fact that a large segment of the population considers themselves addicted. But I have never seen an ad on TV for a drug to stop masturbation. I guess there is no market for it because no one considers themselves addicted.

Why do you keep equating smoking with masturbation? Its a ridiculous thing to do. They are unrelated.

Because one of the chief arguments against masturbation (that of misuse of a body part) applies equally well against smoking.

You have no clue what you are talking about. Learn what the Church teaches and then come back and discuss it!

Don’t be so arrogant. You know very well what he/she was trying to say in the analogy. Analogies are there to point out a similarity - so attacking it for any non-similarity is foolish.

While I don’t believe smoking is a sin, I believe that the analogy does well to highlight why it might be considered sinful and perhaps is not the best thing to do.

Would you consider it ok for someone to cut themselves out of addiction so long as it isn’t ‘excessive’? Doubtful. Smoking is exactly the same. Destroying an organ (lungs) because one receives pleasure from something (smoking). In terms of cutting, it would be destroying an organ (skin) because on receives pleasure from something (cutting). Analogies. Wonderful huh!

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The Church teaching is very clear. It is not smoking per se that is a sin. It is excess use of tobacco that is a sin. You can toss this around however you like but the Church teaching is the Church teaching and you must accept it.

I’m not arguing against Church teaching nor have I said the Church is wrong, thanks though.


I smoke cigarettes daily, but moderatly. I often wonder the same question whether it’s sinful or not. Im starting to have reason to beleive it is. It surely wouldn’t help your body to be at it’s max potential in terms of health. I hear storys about those who smoke and they live long, but nobody can tell me smoking is overerall good for your lungs. I beleive that God gave you a body that is destined for unimaginable glory in heaven, so you’d want to present your body in an honorable manner. I understand these things but I still smoke. Sincere prayer I beleive is the answer. May god be with us on our journey.

What is defined as excess and moderation though? I have yet to see a straight answer for that regarding tobacco smoke. If excess is defined as the point where it harms the body, then any smoking is excess since every single cigarette you smoke is damaging you. It’s not like alcohol, this stuff actually builds up in your system, no matter how much ‘moderation’ you think you are taking.

It’s actively destroying the body that God gave to you. How is it not a sin?

I’m obviously an adult ADD kinda person. I was just thinking my smoking is self-medication, as nicotine releases a neurotransmitter, choline, found in egg yolks and soy lecithin, btw. I would really prefer a much more natural treatment than popping an ADD pill or smoking cigarettes. I have tried everything from hypnosis to the patch and Wellbutrin and so forth. I also tend to have low blood pressure, so smoking helps me feel less like I have the metabolism of a lizard. When I have my blood pressure taken, the nurse reading the results wants to have me in a wheelchair for my safety as walking would seem physically impossible. Please pray for me in this regard. When I indulge in smoking excessively, according to my inner counter, I confess this as a sin of gluttony. Thanks.

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