Question # 105: Assalamu alaykum is vape, the alternative for cigarettes smoking allowed in Islam?

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: One might have heard that smoking is at most ‘makrooh’ (disliked), but the fact of the matter is, smoking of all forms [cigarettes, cigars, pipes, hookah, shisha, etc.] is absolutely haram because of its harm to one’s religion, health, well-being and finances.

Vaping is no safer than smoking, scientists have warned after finding that e-cigarette vapor damages DNA in ways that could lead to cancer. Studies strongly suggest that electronic cigarettes are not as safe as their marketing makes them appear to the public. Consequently, the scholars opined that there is no difference between the two types of smoking with regard to the rulings and that they are equally forbidden.

Long Answer:

SMOKING

Let’s first understand why the scholars have declared smoking to be haram.

Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz says “Smoking is forbidden because it is evil and contains many harmful things. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) has only permitted food and drinks which are good and pure (At-tayyibat) for His creatures. He has forbidden evil and impure things (Al-Khaba’ith) for them. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says: “They ask you (O Muhammad) what is lawful for them (as food). Say: “Lawful unto you are At-tayyibat [all kinds of halal (lawful – good)”” (Soorah al-Ma’idah, 5:4)

And, He (سبحانه و تعالى) says, in describing His Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم): ““He allows them as lawful At-Tayyibat (i.e. all good and lawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods), and prohibits them as unlawful Al-Khaba’ith (i.e. all evil and unlawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons and foods)” (Soorah al-A‘raaf, 7:157)

Smoking of all forms [cigarettes, cigars, pipes, hookah, shisha, etc.] is not from among the good and pure things, rather it is from the evil and impure things… It is an obligation upon anyone who smoked them or dealt in them [selling] to hasten towards repentance to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) and to express regret for what has passed, and to make the firm intention not to return to it…”  (Fatawa Islamiyah)

Dr. Farhat Hashmi says “You may hear people telling you that [smoking] is not so bad or at most it is ‘makrooh’. But the fact of the matter is that smoking is absolutely haram. It is prohibited on account of the harm that it causes to one’s religion, well-being and finances…

In the Sunnah we see that any kind of harm is completely prohibited. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “There is not to be any causing of harm nor is there to be any reciprocating of harm.” (Ibn Majah; graded hasan)

…According to a research done by the University of California: “Every cigarette a man smokes reduces his life by 11 minutes. Each carton of cigarettes thus represents a day and a half of lost life. Every year a man smokes a pack a day, he shortens his life by almost 2 months.” (University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, April 2000)

…Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever purposely throws himself from a mountain and kills himself, will be in Hellfire falling down into it and abiding therein perpetually forever; and whoever drinks poison and kills himself with it, he will be carrying his poison in his hand and drinking it in the Fire wherein he will abide eternally forever; and whoever kills himself with an iron weapon, will be carrying that weapon in his hand and stabbing his abdomen with it in the Fire wherein he will abide eternally forever” (al-Bukhari)

…The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Your body has a right on you” (al-Bukhari); …“A person will not be able to move on the Day of Judgment until he is asked about … his body as to what he engaged it in” (at-Tirmidhi; graded sahih)

All physicians agree it is extremely harmful. Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and wreaks havoc on a person’s overall health. There is no disagreement among the physicians that smoking is one of the major causes of multiple types of cancer, heart diseases, strokes, pulmonary diseases, hip fractures, cataracts, premature births, birth defects, premature deaths and many, many other diseases… Studies show that tobacco smoke (that a smoker would blow out) contains more than 7,000 chemical compounds. More than 250 of these chemicals are known to be harmful, and at least 69 are known to cause cancer.

… [Next,] smokers are… addicted to smoking and any kind of addiction is haram.

… [Lastly] Smoking costs money as well as your health. Statistics show that at today’s prices, if a person smokes one pack of cigarettes each day for ten years, he’ll spend over $58,000 – easily enough to buy a new car! …The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “The two feet of the son of Adam will not move from near his Lord on the day of Judgement until he is asked about five (matters) about his life – how he spent it; about his youth – how he took care of it; about his wealth – how he earned it; and where he spent it and about that which he acted upon from the knowledge he acquired” (at-Tirmidhi and others; graded sahih)

…The nasty smell of smoke that permeates the clothes, the breath, the skin and even the hair of the smoker is ugly and repulsive. It just becomes part of the smoker… [When the] smoker goes to masjid, the overpowering stink sickens everyone and takes away the khushoo’ of many around him. If the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) forbade eating garlic and onions, before someone goes to the masjid, what about the strong overwhelming stink of smoke. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever causes distress to a Muslim has caused me distress, and whoever causes me distress has caused distress to Allah.” (at-Tabarani; graded hasan)…”

VAPING

According to Wikipedia.org, “an electronic cigarette or e-cigarette is a handheld electronic device that vaporizes a flavored liquid, which the user inhales. Using e-cigarettes is often called vaping. The fluid in the e-cigarette, called e-liquid, is usually made of nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerine, and flavorings.” There are nearly 500 brands of e-cigarettes on the market, in more than 7,000 flavors.

Here’s an extract from the article “E-cigarettes are no safer than smoking tobacco, scientists warn” from ‘The Telegraph’ dated 29 December 2015:

“Vaping is no safer than smoking, scientists have warned after finding that e-cigarette vapor damages DNA in ways that could lead to cancer.

Researchers at the University of California created an extract from the ‘smoke’ of e-cigarettes and used it to treat human cells in a lab. The exposed cells developed DNA damage and died far sooner than those left untreated. Nicotine free e-cigarettes caused 50 per cent more DNA strand breaks, while for those containing nicotine the damage rose three fold over eight weeks.

“There haven’t been many good lab studies on the effects of these products on actual human cells,” said Dr Jessica Wang-Rodriquez, professor of pathology at the University of California, San Diego, and one of the lead researchers on the new study. “Our study strongly suggests that electronic cigarettes are not as safe as their marketing makes them appear to the public… We were able to identify that e-cigarettes on the whole have something to do with increased cell death. We hope to identify the individual components that are contributing to the effect… Based on the evidence to date I believe they are no better than smoking regular cigarettes.”

…Scientists already know of some troubling chemicals in the products. One is formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Another possible culprit is diacetyl, a flavoring agent that has been linked to lung disease, notably a deadly condition called ‘popcorn lung’ which affects factory workers.

…Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity ASH said it was clear the e-cigarettes were not ‘risk free.’ “What this research doesn’t do is compare the impact of electronic cigarette vapor with that of tobacco smoke, which we know is far more toxic to cells than vapor.” she said. “Electronic cigarettes are a much safer alternative source of nicotine for smokers than cigarettes, but that doesn’t mean they are risk free and we would discourage anyone who’s not a smoker from using them.””

Consequently, the scholars opined that there is no difference between the two types of smoking with regard to the rulings and that they are equally forbidden.

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam