Onboard the Apollo capsule, the astronauts probably weren’t allowed to smoke because of the risk. Apollo 1 blew up because of a small spark in a pure oxygen environment. Even though NASA changed the air in the Apollo spacecraft, there was still risk. Were any of the Apollo astronauts smokers and if so, were there any incidents where they were craving a cigarette, but couldn’t get one?

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    $\begingroup$ Apollo throughout the entire program ran on almost pure oxygen atmosphere, The changes were to construction and materials, but the risk of fire was permanent... and if an astronaut tried to light a cigarette, it would have burned all to ash in the pure oxygen faster than one could take a swig of smoke. $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Commented Jan 23, 2023 at 8:32
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    $\begingroup$ Where astronauts usually work it can be soddin' inconvenient to step outside for a coupla puffs... $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 23, 2023 at 21:33
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    $\begingroup$ It was the 1960's, everybody smoked, and those that didn't still got the equivalent second-hand because indoor rooms were more cigarette smoke than breathable air $\endgroup$
    – Dragongeek
    Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 18:49
  • $\begingroup$ For themselves or others? For themselves, well, it part of the reason that Glenn wasn't first human in space. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 12, 2023 at 1:01

3 Answers 3


In the early years of the Space program, smoking everywhere was considered normal. But NASA was ahead of its time. After members of the "Original Seven" were seen smoking on TV, NASA was concerned about the squeaky-clean image the astronauts and urged the astronauts to quit smoking.

Wally Schirra quit before his Apollo 7 flight.

So in the sources I can find, the smoking was "only" a public image issue. All the astronauts seem to have had enough common sense not to smoke where it would be dangerous (ignoring the fact that smoking in itself is dangerous for the smokers and the people around them).

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    $\begingroup$ Even hardcore two pack a day smokers generally have enough common sense to know when not to light up. The one exception I know of is when I worked for a company that built a device that went into the flames of a spewing failed oil rig. Nobody previously had studied what exactly comes out. I called the person we had sent to help with our device and asked whether these people are as crazy as depicted. He replied that no, these were rock solid workers, but then said "wait a second." A guy whose clothing completely reeked of petroleum had just walked past, sat down, and calmly lit a cigarette. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 23, 2023 at 14:55
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    $\begingroup$ @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact don’t worry I approved your edits. It has been changed $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 23, 2023 at 18:36
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    $\begingroup$ @TheRocketfan I was sure you would - it is just annoying that SE won't allow a low rep user to make a small change. I understand not allowing any changes without approval, but why limit to only large changes? Makes no sense. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 23, 2023 at 18:42
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    $\begingroup$ @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact this might be in interest to you space.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2953/… $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 23, 2023 at 19:28
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    $\begingroup$ Might also be worth noting that these were military pilots - even if they were chainsmoking fiends, they would already have been used to time and place restrictions. $\endgroup$
    – fectin
    Commented Jan 24, 2023 at 21:30

enter image description here

Buzz Aldrin with (presumably unlit) pipe. Gemini 12 photo S66-62984

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    $\begingroup$ And a nice slide rule… $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Jan 23, 2023 at 16:58
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    $\begingroup$ Cool pic, but how does this answer the question? $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jan 24, 2023 at 14:11
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    $\begingroup$ @FreeMan: it seems more than likely than someone who has taken a pipe to space with him for a photo smokes said pipe, doesn't it? $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 24, 2023 at 17:09
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    $\begingroup$ And, in fact, newspaper reports from the time describe him smoking his "ever-lit corncob pipe" ( cdnc.ucr.edu/… ) and photos exist of him smoking ( ebay.com/itm/374367032042 ) $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 24, 2023 at 17:12
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    $\begingroup$ It most probably has not even tabacco inside. You don't want loose stuf in microgravity. Because every little bit floating around has the potential of getting into to life support system or into the lungs of the astronaut. The "corned beef sandwich incident" didn't go down too well so smoking would have mad a much bigger stirr. $\endgroup$
    – TrySCE2AUX
    Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 5:50

Some astronauts did smoke, see the embedded Why you can’t talk about the Moon landing without mentioning cigarettes video in. Some of the original Mercury astronauts can be seen smoking at the press conference announcing the astronauts. Also see, When NASA Told Its Astronauts to Quit Smoking


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