Tongue Tied

Dave Lister on Z Shift in Red Dwarf, eating curry with a cigarette in his ear ("The End")

Smoking is a human habit of inhaling the smoke from lit tobacco in the form of cigarettes, cigars, or a pipe. It is addictive due to the nicotine content.

Dave Lister, the last human in the Galaxy, was an occasional smoker, often keeping cigarettes in his hat or inside his ears.

Television Series

Although very few smoked in the mid-2100s, presumably because of the health risks, Dave Lister was fond of smoking cigarettes. He would often keep a cigarette behind his ear, sticking out of his ear, or in the lining of his hats. His workmate and bunkmate aboard Red Dwarf, Arnold Rimmer, disliked smoking greatly and had no smoking signs up in their sleeping quarters and on his bunk. Although Rimmer couldn't stop Lister smoking, Rimmer found the no smoking signs 'striking'. (Series I, Bodysnatcher)

Lister may have picked up the habit from his adoptive grandmother who raised him, an aggressive old harridan who chewed tobacco and smoked a pipe. ("Future Echoes")

While Lister and Rimmer worked on Z Shift unclogging soup machines, Lister lit up a cigarette. Rimmer threatened to put him on report and asked him if he was smoking a cigarette; Lister sarcastically replied that he was smoking a chicken. ("The End")

Three million years later, Lister was revived from stasis to find that the crew were dead of a radiation leak. Rimmer, now brought back as a hologram, was the highest ranking crew member. Rimmer attempted to use this fact to lord it over Lister, although Lister never took any notice. However, Rimmer got the skutters to hide the ship's stock of cigarettes in Pipeline 22, Level 541. He then tells Lister that he obeys in following his petty routines and orders, he will allow Lister a set amount of cigarettes once every so often. Rimmer's plan eventually came apart when Cat located the cigarettes, and he liked them since the packets were silver and shiny. Rimmer attempted to bribe Cat to keep quiet by teaching him how to order trout a la creme from the vending machines, but Cat eventually told Lister anyway. ("Balance of Power")

Lister would sometimes smoke cigars, putting them out in his cans of Leopard Lager which he sometimes then forgot about and drank. ("Balance of Power") Lister kept a tea strainer next to his bed so that could sieve out the cigar dimps from the previous nights flat lager. ("Psirens")

When the Dwarfers entered their own digital fantasy in Better Than Life, Rimmer envisioned himself wearing an Admiral uniform, and he left the others to drink port and smoke cigars with his officers. Cat ruined Rimmer's fantasy when he envisioned Rimmer's father calling Rimmer a smeghead instead of saying that he was proud of him. Cat then stole Rimmer's cigar. ("Better Than Life")

When Lister and Rimmer swapped bodies, Rimmer overindulged himself very much since he had a physical body again for the first time in three million years. This included eating and drinking too much, and also smoking many Cuban cigars. When Lister got his body back he found that Rimmer's actions had caused him to pile on a lot of weight, and also his lungs felt like they had been through a cheese-grater and Lister assumed that Rimmer had smoked a whole tobacco harvest. ("Bodyswap")

On a version of Earth where time ran backwards, Rimmer and Kryten saw, amongst things, a man smoking a cigarette backwards. (“ Backwards”)

Ace Rimmer was fond of smoking cigars ("Dimension Jump", "Stoke Me a Clipper"), as was the alternate, more heroic version of Lister. ("Back to Reality") Padre, an alternate version of Cat, smoked a pipe. ("Dimension Jump")

When the Dwarfers encountered the holoship Enlightenment, one of their crew, Binks, beamed aboard Starbug to examine the Dwarfers. Binks was very rude and condescending towards them as he reported back to his superiors over the radio, causing Lister to reply in a mocking tone, using a pack of cigarettes to mimic Binks' radio. Eventually, Lister intimidated Binks into retreating back to the holoship when he said that he had a holowhip and began to take his jacket off while eating a cigarette. ("Holoship")

Lister smoked a cigar whilst dangling The Inquisitor over a chasm in the cargo bays, and also used his Zippo lighter to set fire to the rope that was holding The Inquisitor up in the air. Lister then caught the deranged droid as it fell, and Lister argued that it couldn't erase him from existence since then he wouldn't exist to save his life. ("The Inquisitor")

When the Dwarfers crash landed in Starbug on the Kinitawowi moon, they were forced to go and trade with the local GELFs for a new Oxy-Generation Unit. The Dwarfers traded numerous trinkets with the chief, including Swiss watches, Levi jeans, and a baseball cap. Lister put a Cuban cigar into his mouth, and Kryten warned Lister that their sphincteral orifices are in their faces, but fortunately the chief seemed quite pleased. ("Emohawk")

When Lister wanted to use the Time Drive to go back in time and replenish their curry supplies, Kryten refused due to the dangerous implications of altering the timeline. Lister then swapped Kryten's head in the dead of night with Spare Head 2, removing his behaviour chip and moral protocols in the process so that Spare Head 2 would agree to the curry hunt. Rimmer and Cat were then perplexed by Kryten's behaviour, as he began cooking unhealthy food, swearing, drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. ("Tikka to Ride")

When the Dwarfers found the body of Eric White, Cat smelled him to see what he could learn from his scent, and was found to be entirely wrong. One of the things Cat was wrong about was he thought Eric was a smoker, but his identity card actually revealed that he was chair of the anti-smoking league. ("Tikka to Ride")

In a flashback to when Lister was dumped by Kochanski and he learned that he was being dumped in favour of Tim, Lister said that he was a 'ponce' who hung around the Officer's Club smoking black cigarettes. ("Ouroboros")

The Felis sapiens who had evolved on Red Dwarf and who worshipped Lister as their God, Cloister, evidently took up smoking in his honour. When the Dwarfers met three Cat Clerics who were hiding on Iron Star, they had cigarettes hanging out of their ears as Lister often used to. (The Promised Land)


In the novels, Rimmer takes to chain smoking and becomes addicted to stimulants in his final attempt to pass his astro-navigation exams, after failing them more than two dozen times. (Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers)



  • Lister often has cigarettes in earlier series, although he is rarely actually smoking them, but they are often about his person. As the series progressed, Lister would appear less frequently with cigarettes, until they no longer appeared at all (the last time he appeared with a cigarette was approximately Series V). This may have been because the writers had made a decision that the character would have toned down his habit as his years went on, or simply due to lessening prevalence and acceptability of the habit in society as a whole.

Behind the Scenes

Rob Grant's cameo as "man un-smoking cigarette" ("Backwards")

  • Rob Grant, one of the two co-creators of the franchise, has a cameo in the Series III episode "Backwards". Grant is the man 'un-smoking' a cigarette in reverse on the streets of Retsehcnam.
  • In his autobiography, The Man in the Rubber Mask, Robert Llewellyn tells of how he gave up smoking in 1990 after two decades of the habit. One of the factors which helped him was Craig Charles constantly stealing his cigarettes during the production of Series III.[1]
  • In the Series V episode "Holoship", Lister eats a cigarette at the conclusion with his tit-for-tat with Binks. This was actually unscripted and done for comedic effect by Craig Charles.[2] The aftermath of this was kept in the "Smeg Ups" of Series V, with Craig Charles in shock at what he just done.[3] According to the cast commentary for the episode, Danny John-Jules recalls that Craig Charles vomited after this.[4]
  • During filming of the Series V episode "Terrorform", Craig Charles caused an incident when out on the artificial lake, he attempted to light a cigarette on one the swamp flames.[5]