I live in a country where cigarettes are very cheap. I am going to travel somewhere where I can sell cigarettes for much more than it cost me. If I take them, I will make a huge profit.

However I am concerned that it may be halachically incorrect to sell these cigarettes to other Jews because it may be a transgression of lifnei Eiver Lo Titen Michshol - One must not place a stumbling block before a 'blind' person.

To establish if this is in fact prohibited we must first make sure that smoking in the first place is prohibited. I always understood that it was completely forbidden due to the prohibition of committing suicide (correct me if I am wrong).

However, one can argue (this is what many friends of mine tried to argue) that they are going to smoke the cigarettes anyway since they are addicted. So there should be nothing wrong with being the one who provides them.

I would like to know which side is correct (please bring sources to any answers) Thanks

Edit: as Daniel mentioned in the comments, I think it is actually illegal to do such a thing. I presume that this also makes it halachically incorrect?

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    Even if it's not outright prohibited, seems like a terrible thing to support in any way.
    – Double AA
    Jan 19, 2017 at 22:29
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    In addition to halakhic issues, this may be illegal according to secular law without declaring your profits and possibly filing a tax return.
    – Daniel
    Jan 20, 2017 at 0:01
  • @Daniel it is legal for each person to take 2 boxes of cigarettes from duty free Jan 20, 2017 at 0:04
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    @AbrahamMurcianoBenzadon I'm sure it depends on the country. I'm not saying that it's definitely illegal. I'm just speaking from the perspective of someone who lives in America and has some familiarity with how the law works in this country. I suspect that if you were going to sell imported cigarettes in the US without some kind of documentation you would be running afoul of the law. IANAL
    – Daniel
    Jan 20, 2017 at 0:11
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    Is one allowed to smoke? discusses the various poskim. Jan 20, 2017 at 0:41

3 Answers 3


Among important Sephardi Haredi rabbis, Rabbi Ben Tzion Abba Shaul and Rabbi Moshe Tzedaka called on youth not to start smoking.

Other major Ashkenazi rabbis who explicitly forbade smoking and selling include Rabbi Eliezer Waldenberg, Rabbi Moshe Stern, and Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Sheinberg.

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    "Called on youth not to start smoking" does this mean its forbidden or just not advisable? May 9, 2017 at 10:10
  • explicitly forbade smoking and selling include Rabbi Eliezer Waldenberg, Rabbi Moshe Stern, and Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Sheinberg. Where can these views be found?
    – mevaqesh
    Dec 15, 2017 at 3:19

Rav Avigdor Nevenzahl שליט״א, one of the foremost students of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach זצ״ל, and former Chief Rabbi of the Old City once told me that if not for the possible legal issues that may come from it, it would not just be allowed, but it would be a mitzvah to steal, take away from, and ultimately destroy your friends' cigarettes from them, as it has been proven without a shadow of a doubt that smoking leads to cancer.

With this in mind, it seems obvious to apply that it is forbidden to sell them, though it would not be prohibited biblically(as they could acquire their own from the local store around the corner) it would be prohibited rabbinically.

However, I have seen that a s’vara quoted in the name of Rav Avraham Weinfeld זצ״ל (the author of שו״ת לב אברהםֿ) that smoking should be permitted on the basis that each cigarette itself is not able to give one cancer, it is only through the accumulation of the cigarette smoking that leads to cancer. Therefore one is permitted to smoke. Thus selling a pack shouldn’t be forbidden as each cigarette itself is not going to cause cancer, nor a whole pack.

However I consulted with a son of Rav Weinfeld and he said that this idea was never said by his father.


There is a disagreement among the poskim whether it is permitted or not, based primarily on health reasons; with most forbidding smoking. However, according to R' Yitzchak Yosef shlita, there is no explicit issur to sell or smoke cigarettes(see also Igrot Moshe YD 2:49). There have also been many, and are many Gedolim that smoke; something they would never take as a habit if forbidden by the Torah(ibid).

If one was in sha'at hadachak and needs parnasah, he may deal in cigarettes and rely on the poskim that permit it until he finds something better, b'ezrat HaShem.

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    chacham Nisan, welcome to Mi Yodeya. You have posted a lot of material, but remember we have no idea who you are that we should trust you. For all I know you could be a missionary or a child. Please, in order to give your posts value to the community, try to include in your answers sources to justify your claims. See too judaism.meta.stackexchange.com/a/3887/759
    – Double AA
    Aug 21, 2018 at 21:51
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    See here for an excellent article with sources in the footnotes; ohr.edu/this_week/insights_into_halacha/5717. Aug 22, 2018 at 14:00
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    You should include content from the comments in the post itself - comments are not meant to stay. Also remember that many poskim didn't know of the terrible impact of cigarettes until very recently. Old piskei halacha are therefore not so useful. I believe RMF's son he wouldn't have ruled this way if he understood the correlation between smoking, cancer and death
    – mbloch
    Aug 31, 2018 at 3:51
  • R' Ritzchak Yosef is recent; why do you ignore him? He brings a list of poskim that permit it. If a person wished, they could rely on him. Aug 31, 2018 at 8:03

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