French Smoking Vocabulary & Expressions 🚬

Author: Steve Oswald

Tu veux te tirer une sèche ? Learn the French smoking vocabulary and about smoking in France. I’ll also explain three dumbfounding smoking expressions.

1 – Smoking in France

The French smoke a lot. It’s been changing a bit lately, but still, smoking in France is a real nuisance.

Smoking is allowed in the streets of France, and most of the time on the patio of French restaurants, bars… So, think twice about seating “en terrace” if you are a non-smoker. It’s the smokers’ territory and they do feel entitled to smoke there.

If someone smokes and it bothers you, you may try to say:
Excusez-moi: est-ce que vous auriez la gentillesse de ne pas fumer. Ça me dérange beaucoup / je suis allergique à la fumée.
Sorry, would you be kind enough as not to smoke. It bothers me a lot / I’m allergic to smoke.

Good luck to you though, since this is not customary in France…

And if you are a polite smoker, you may ask:
Est-ce que ça vous dérange si je fume ?
Do you mind if I smoke?

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2 – 40 French Smoking Terms

Here is a list of French smoking words with English translation.

  1. le tabac (c silent) – tobacco
  2. le tabagisme – fancy formal word to talk about smoking… In the news, you’ll find sentences like “les problèmes du tabagisme en France”…
  3. un fumeur / une fumeuse – a smoker.
    This adjective can be used in the feminine to describe a woman who smokes but for some reason I would rather say “elle fume” than “elle est fumeuse” which sounds really weird to my French ear.
  4. un non-fumeur – a non-smoker
  5. une cigarette – cigarette
  6. une blonde – light tobacco cigarette
  7. une brune – strong tobacco cigarette
  8. une menthol – menthol cigarettes – banned in France since 2020
  9. un/e clope – cigarette, familiar: ciggy, smoke (used both in the masculine and the feminine)
  10. une sèche – cigarette, familiar: ciggy, smoke
  11. une cibiche – cigarette, familiar: ciggy, smoke
  12. avec ou sans filtre – with or without filter
  13. un paquet de cigarette – pack
  14. le tabac à rouler – rolling tobacco
  15. du papier à rouler – rolling paper
  16. Du gris – cheap pipe and rolling tobacco
  17. la nicotine – nicotine
  18. un patch – a patch
  19. une cigarette éléctronique – e-cigarette
  20. vapoter – to smoke an e-cigarette
  21. un vapoteur / une vapoteuse – person who smokes e-cigarettes
  22. un cigar – cigar
  23. un cigarillo – smaller kind of cigar
  24. une pipe – smoking pipe
  25. un joint – joint
  26. rouler un joint – to roll a joint
  27. la marijuana, la marijane – marijuana
  28. un bong, une pipe à eau – water bong
  29. un briquet – lighter
  30. une allumette – match
  31. une blague à tabac – tobacco pouch (une blague is also a joke in French)
  32. un cendrier – ashtray
  33. un mégot – butt
  34. la cendre – ash
  35. la fumée – smoke
  36. fumer – to smoke (verb)
  37. se griller une clope – to smoke, familiar
  38. crapoter – to smoke without inhaling fully the smoke
  39. une taffe – a puff
  40. la zone fumeur – smoking section
  41. la zone non-fumeur – non-smoking section
  42. un bar-tabac = where you can buy tobacco. It’s usually part of a bar and has a large sign that says “tabac”.
  43. un/une buraliste – someone who works in a “bar-tabac”

3 – French Smoking Expressions

  1. Casser sa pipe – Lit. to break one’s smoking pipe. Meaning to die.
  2. Fumer comme un pompier – Lit. to smoke like a fireman. Meaning to smoke a lot.
  3. Fumer la moquette – Lit. to smoke the carpet. Meaning to smoke a joint and therefore to be a bit out of it.

Watch out with the word “une pipe” in French which in slang has a very strong sexual meaning.

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Author: Steve Oswald

Steve Oswald

Bonjour à tous ! I am a retired American physician with a passion for all things French. I will share with you some of my experiences while traveling in France. My French lessons via Skype have been wonderful and are helping me prepare for my next journey to France.

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