In "Lonely Among Us" TNG 1x07, we see Data taking on the persona of Sherlock Holmes while puffing an old English pipe complete with tobacco and stinky smoke. Wouldn't that violate safety and health protocols aboard a Starship?

At the end of a senior staff meeting, where he was smoking the whole time, he's finally meet with disapproval by Lieutenant Yar and Captain Picard because of the smell but there's no admonition that smoking is prohibited on board. In later episodes we also see him with the same pipe.

Is there no restriction or regulation about smoking on board?

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    Synthetobacco, all the smell and taste of real tobacco, without any of the detrimental effects.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 20:06
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    Synthobacco, holojuana...even synthamphetamines, who knows. In the 24th century, they could probably develop it (and Dr. Crusher or Pulaski could likely remove any toxins from the system and repair any damage done), so it's possible that drugs could feasibly be a recreational habit. That said, I'm sure that (like money) the Federation has gotten past simple hedonism.
    – user14952
    Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 15:01
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    Federation medical technology had cured lung cancer centuries earlier. But male pattern baldness still vexed them!
    – Schwern
    Commented Jan 4, 2015 at 19:12
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    No. The Enterprise itself seemed to smoke regularly, particularly during and immediately following combat. :)
    – reirab
    Commented Jul 23, 2015 at 19:04
  • I doubt that Data would even be affected by actual tobacco smoke. Commented Oct 13, 2021 at 1:25

4 Answers 4


There's no evidence that there was actual tobacco in the pipe, or any of the various cigarettes or cigars that other characters smoke, despite the puffs of smoke.

I suggest that just as they had Synthehol to replace the the deleterious effects of alcohol in drinks, it is likely there was some synthetic equivalent to tobacco that eliminated the negative effects of smoking.

As we learn in "Time's Arrow 2" smoking is irregular enough that cigars are not a regularly stocked commodity, however, Troi is "sure" that they can be replicated. Since we know from VOY:"Death Wish" that replicators will not produce fatal poisons (which tobacco could classified as, following DS9:"Little Green Men"), they must have a non-harmful replacement for tobacco.

CLEMENS: Any place that doesn't stock a good cigar doesn't rank high in my book.
TROI: If you must have one, I'm sure we can replicate it for you.
Time's Arrow 2

QUARK: What is that disgusting smell?
NOG: I think it's called tobacco. It's a deadly drug. When used frequently, it destroys the internal organs.
QUARK: If it's so deadly, then why do they use it?
NOG: It's also highly addictive.
ROM: How do they get their hands on it?
NOG: They buy it in stores.
QUARK: They buy it? If they'll buy poison, they'll buy anything. I think I'm going to like it here.
Little Green Men

TUVOK: Doctor, do you generally keep samples of fatal poisons in storage?
EMH: No.
TUVOK: The replicators will not produce them either.
Death Wish

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    good point. I thought about that too. We even have 'e-cigarettes' today that don't contain all the nasty chemicals but they don't stink. Obviously the pipe that Data was smoking stunk of tobacco as obviously indicated by Yar's facial expression and Picard's admonition to "Get rid of that damn pipe".
    – Morgan
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 21:00
  • It is the 24th century and they visit other planets. Maybe there was some other fancy, exotic substance from another planet in there.
    – Xantec
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 21:02
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    @Morgan: I'm guessing that the 24th century would have an advanced enough synthetic tobacco analog that could fully reproduce the flavor and smell/stink of tobacco while being more innocuous than even contemporary e-cigs. The other possibility is that cancer & lung disease are so easy to cure that they don't need to ban smoking. E.g. regular bioscans can detect the slightest trace of a tumor and a simple hypospray can instantly kill the cancer cells without any side-effects. Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 8:04
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    Since this is the place to nitpick sci-fi... If the replicator were to label tobacco as a fatal poison it would also have to mark vitamins A, B3, nicotinamide, and niacin in the same way -- which is clearly impractical for the survival of the crew (spinach, some meats, liver, etc. would then be impossible to obtain, for example).
    – zxq9
    Commented Oct 9, 2014 at 11:29
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    @zxq9 Good point. A lot of drugs/chemicals with nutritional or therapeutic value can also be quite effective poisons even in relatively small amounts. Perhaps the rule is that the replicator won't produce anything that is only used as a poison and only produces drugs in appropriate therapeutic dosages? Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 14:31

You can find information about smoking on The Smoking Section of the Memory Alpha Star Trek Wikia.


In the Wrath of Khan there were signs prohibition smoking in certain areas.

According to signs posted in the transporter room of the USS Enterprise in the 2280s, smoking was prohibited in that area. Smoking was also prohibited in the Mark IV bridge simulator. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

There were also scenes of holograms smoking as well.

Fictional characters of the Dixon Hill novels and stories also smoked. When Jean-Luc Picard played the role of Hill in the holoprogram version, he was offered a cigarette on at least two occasions. (TNG: "The Big Goodbye", "Manhunt") Nicky the Nose was another character seen smoking as well as several nightclub patrons. (Star Trek: First Contact)

There were also other people who smoked such as Data but he only did so taking on the role of Sherlock, just as Deanna portraying Durango. The picture below the quote is Worf playing the character Duchamps.

Also in the holodeck, Deanna Troi smoked a cigar while in character as Durango, the mysterious stranger who comes to Sheriff Worf's aid in the town of Deadwood, (TNG: "A Fistful of Datas") and Data occasionally smoked a pipe in the role of Sherlock Holmes. (TNG: "Lonely Among Us", "Elementary, Dear Data", "Ship in a Bottle")

Worf as Duchamps

Funny enough in the background section of this portion of the wikia it states that smoking in the future wasn't really common among humans.

In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, director Nicholas Meyer had "No Smoking" signs posted on the bridge of the Enterprise. According to the text commentary for the film, at Gene Roddenberry's insistence, they were removed. Roddenberry felt that enlightened future Humans would not have hang-ups or addictions like smoking. The "No Smoking" sign can still be seen on the bridge in the opening "Kobayashi Maru" scene.

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    "enlightened future humans would not have... addictions like smoking" does NOT mean "smoking wasn't really seen as taboo". Quite the opposite: it means that in Roddenberry's vision of the future, "no smoking" signs are unnecessary because nobody smokes.
    – Martha
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 20:34
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    Worf as Duchamps wasn't actually Worf.
    – Xantec
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 20:39
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    No-smoking signs in certain areas would imply that smoking is permitted in other areas. Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 20:49
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    "Let me offer you a bit of free advice...stop poisoning yourself with cigarettes and atom bombs" - Quark
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 20:51
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    I would expect the holodeck smokes to be simply props and the 'smoke' to actually be water vapor.
    – Morgan
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 21:04

In "Times-Arrow II" there is a dialog at the end indicating that there is no smoking "in the future" at all. Mark Twain comes aboard the Enterprise and complains to Deana that their future is all about eliminating the little joys in life like cigars or opening the door for beautiful ladies. As Troy points out all the benefits (no poverty, no exploitation) Twain reluctantly admits that that might be worth giving up smoking.

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    Well done. That exchange was knocking around in the back of my mind when I posted the question.
    – Morgan
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 7:05
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    Well, not all joys are gone. For example people do still like to get drunk on occasion (Guinan keeps real alcohol behind the bar after all). And the other characters do smoke on occasion, like on the holodeck, so the action isn't completely foreign. TNG and it's command crew just portrayed a very idealized view of the 24th century I think.
    – Xantec
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 14:26
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    @Xantec: Apparently Guinans stash does not contain anything for a scotsman. All Data can produce is something green. Then there is the scene Picard drinks with his brother... Probably there are more drinking-scenes in TNG, but to see wasted crew member you better watch DS9 ;-) In TNG alcohol is served with a frown. All the more is smoking only for fantasies on the holodeck.
    – Einer
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 14:57

In the first season of Voyager when Tom was accused of murdering that scientist whose wife he got close too. He hold her when she was smoking that his people had come to there senses a long time ago that it was killing them. Humans probably didn't smoke but that didn't mean other species didn't. But taking into account things a sensitivity to smoke and the toxins they probably didn't allow it. (like you said heath protocols) Sure they could make people better but why do that when you can prevent it from happening in the first place. I'm guessing Data's was synthetic taste and smell without the toxins. They probably didn't like it because of the smell, have you ever smelled a pipe tobacco


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