About Smoking Fetish

woman with cigarette in mouth

Also known as capnolagnia, a smoking fetish is a type of sexual fetish that involves the use of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and even hookahs.

  • People with a smoking fetish experience sexual arousal when either watching someone else smoke, smoking themselves, or simply imagining someone smoking.

The connection between smoking and sexual arousal has been widely portrayed in the media, and in particular, in movies. According to Dr. Mark D. Griffiths, a Professor of Behavioral Addiction at Nottingham Trent University (UK), “Watch any film or television show made before 2000 that features a post-coital couple in bed, and odds on, one (if not both) of them will be smoking a cigarette”.

Possible Causes Of Smoking Fetish

While it’s unclear what causes a person to develop a smoking fetish, as author Brian Alexander at NBC News,  points out, “the smoking backlash can have the perverse effect of making it seem even more decadent, sort of like eating a bacon-stuffed meatloaf wrapped in bacon”.

  • Sexualization of smoking has also been linked to oral fixations and fellatio, which may explain why capnolagnia is mostly experienced by both heterosexual and homosexual men.


The prevalence of smoking fetishism is difficult to determine, however, smoking fetish is a popular topic on a number of mainstream social media sites such as Twitter and Instagram, and multiple public message boards are devoted to the promotion of provocative imagery depicting attractive women smoking cigarettes, cigars, and marijuana.


While there is no medical diagnosis that specifically names capnolagnia, a smoking fetish is considered to be a type of paraphilia, which according to the DSM-IV-TR is a “recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges or behaviors generally involving nonhuman objects”.

The general consensus among mental health professionals seems to be that unless a smoking fetish involves children or intensifies to the point where the sexualized thoughts and ideations negatively impact ones’ ability to function on a day-to-day basis, patients with a smoking fetish do not require assistance from a mental health professional.

It is interesting to note that the American Psychiatric Association reports that people with a verified mental health condition “smoke at twice the rate of the general population”, and the “CDC (Centers for Disease Control) estimates that nearly one-third (31 percent) of all cigarettes consumed in the U.S. are smoked by people with mental health conditions”.

What Having It Feels Like

In the online MEL Magazine, an anonymous 45-year-old heterosexual male named ‘Andrew’ discusses his first-hand experience with smoking fetishism. He explains that his smoking fetish started in high school when he was exposed to the sexualization of smoking in movies – “I loved the scene at the end of Grease when Olivia Newton-John comes out as Bad Sandy and smokes a cigarette. But that probably had something to do with her hotpants, high heels and hair, too”.

Andrew’s experience is reflected by many online members of chat groups devoted to smoking fetishism, where users often report that they became aware of the relationship between their sexual arousal and smoking during puberty. Many people who have a smoking fetish have very specific scenarios connected to their arousal, such as a particular brand of cigarette, the appearance of the smoker, or a particular sexual position, and they may seek to have their sexual partner act out these scenarios in a consensual adult relationship.