Judaism's value of life and health make smoking a habit to avoid. Maimonides' Mishneh Torah contains a list of activities to be avoided for health reasons (Deot, Ch. 4). The introduction states, "Seeing that keeping the body healthy and whole is the way of God, for it is impossible to understand or know anything about the Creator if one is sick, therefore a person must distance himself from things that destroy the body and accustom himself to things which heal the body." Smoking is an activity "which destroys the body" and is therefore forbidden under the teaching of Maimonides.
Both the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis have identified smoking as a leading preventable cause of death and have promoted the reduction of smoking and its effects. In a 1987 resolution in smoking, the URJ banned smoking in its buildings and at its functions, resolved to discourage smoking among youth through educational programming, and urged the United States to phase out subsidies to the tobacco industry. The Central Conference of American Rabbis resolved in 1995 to "take all steps possible in our congregations, schools, and organizations to deter the use of tobacco by our children" and "support the FDA's efforts to reduce tobacco advertising to youth and decrease tobacco use by children."
Resolution on Smoking (1985)
Resolution on Endorsing the Proposed FDA Smoking Regulations (1996)
Resolution on Smoking (1987)