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Flavored cigarettes


Rabbi David Sperling

Adar II 26, 5774
Is it permissible for one to smoke a flavored cigarette if it is not kosher. I believe it is a matter of benefiting from forbidden food. Is that permissible or not? Thank you.
Shalom, Thank you for your question. In the opinion of most of the major Rabbis of our generation it is forbidden to smoke cigarettes at all – flavored or not. This is because of the serious health risks involved. Because of this, I am unable to even begin to address your question about the kashrut of flavored tobacco. Here is a quote from an article by Rav Jachter that sums up major opinions about smoking. "… Authoritative have unequivocally stated that it is prohibited to smoke. These authorities include Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, Rav Hershel Schachter, Rav Gedalia Schwartz, and Rav Aharon Soloveitichik. Moreover, one of Rav Moshe Feinstein’s leading Talimidim, Rav Efraim Greenblatt, rules (Teshuvot Rivevot Efraim 8:586) that smoking is prohibited. Indeed, three major Israeli Halachic authorities- Rav Chaim David Halevi (Teshuvot Asei Lecha Rav 2:1,3:18, and 9:28-29), Rav Avigdor Neventzahl (Asyah 5:261) and Rav Eliezer Waldenburg (Teshuvot Tzitz Eliezer 15:39) - have written that smoking is prohibited. Additionally, Rav Ovadia Yosef has concluded that it is prohibited to smoke (Halichot Olam 1:265-266, published in 1998). This contrasts with Rav Ovada’s earlier writings (such as Teshuvot Yechave Daat 5:39, published in 1983) in which he states that it is preferable to refrain from smoking due to the health hazards involved. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Teshuvot Minchat Shlomo 2:58:6) writes, “I have never joined those who believe that it remains permissible to smoke [on any day] in our times.” Finally, Rav Moshe Feinstein (Teshuvot Igrot Moshe Choshen Mishpat 2:76) writes (in 1981) that it is forbidden to begin the habit of smoking. Thus, according to Rav Feinstein, it is forbidden for one to smoke if he did not begin to do so before this Psak was given. We shall argue that, given current medical data, smoking is prohibited even according to Rav Moshe’s standards." To this list of great Rabbis who forbid smoking one many many names. I will just add that I personally heard from the previous Chief Rabbi of Israel, HaRav Avroham Shapiro zt"l that he also believed that it was forbidden to smoke. May the blessing of good health come upon us all, and the wickedness vanish from the earth just as the smoke vanishes and is removed.
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