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Smoking is the habit of inhaling the smoke of smouldering tobacco leaves either by means of cigarettes or pipes. Tobacco was unknown in ancient India but people did take snuff and inhale the smoke of various chemicals or herbs for recreational or medical purposes. While smoking has a negative effect on the body it has little or no effect on consciousness and thus from the Buddhist perspective has no moral significance. A person can be kind, generous and honest and yet smoke. Thus, although smoking is inadvisable from the point of view of physical health it is not contrary to the fifth Precept. Smoking is very common in all Buddhists lands although in 2005 Bhutan was the first country in the world to ban it. In Burma, Thailand and Cambodia monks commonly smoke, but in Sri Lanka it is considered unacceptable for them to do so in public. However, Sri Lankan monks will chew tobacco.


  • Buddhism A to Z. Ven. Dhammika, 2007.