Tobacco use medical exam

For the first class AME medical exam, is it ok to be using tobacco products such as smoking?


Consulting an Aviation Medical Doctor on this issue would be wise. You can search for AMEs nearest you via the FAA’s website.

I don’t smoke. So, this question never crossed my mind. I reviewed the 8500-8 medical form and I didn’t see anything in there asking about smoking habits. The only thing remotely related was substance dependence. I don’t think cigarettes fall into that category. Again, this is why you should consult the AME directly.

That said, I don’t know a single airline pilot that smokes, or at least makes it known to others. That may just be in my small circle of colleagues. I’m sure others will add their comments. If you think about it, it would be very difficult for a pilot to use tobacco products while on the job. Use of tobacco products are prohibited in the aircraft, near the aircraft, on the airport grounds…you’re restricted to designated smoking areas which are not always conveniently available. In SEA the only designated smoking area is outside the terminal.

Chewing tobacco may sound like an appropriate alternative, but even those, all tobacco products, are prohibit for use for good reason.

Lastly, a pilot with a smoking habit is more susceptible to hypoxia which can be threatening to, well, everyone.


Really? I’m thinking that’s because you’re up there with all the healthy crossfitting vegans in the NorthWest? While it still shocks me in this day and age I know TONS of smoking pilots. While it may cause health issues that affect your medical in the future, in and of itself it’s not an issue.



Smoking itself is not an issue, but all the nasty stuff it causes later could easily strip you of your medical certificate. There is no better time to quit than now.


I can’ think of a single pilot my age or younger that smokes. Now with the older generation I Can still think of some, but definitely not the younger ones.


I just wasn’t sure what the regulations were because I saw conflicting info from different sources. One said you have to be off of cigarettes for at least 3 months for the AME medical exam. I didn’t know if this was true or not. Believe me, I’ve wanted to quit but never had enough motivation. This is going to be it. I’m going to quit no matter what. But I wanted to know if I would still pass my AME if I wanted to hurry and take it before 3 months, cause I’m anxious to get started learning how to fly if I can. Lol.

So what are you saying Carey? :wink:


As someone that smokes this never came up in my 3rd class or 1st class medical BUT I also know that it will not be something I can continue with as I will be instructing all day long and then if I’m afforded the opportunity with the Regionals it will once again be long days of flying with short turns and I just wont be able to get a smoke break in so I have been looking at cessation recently.

Probably because the younger generation are all vaping now, instead of smoking cigarettes :joy:

Yeah, that is working out well for them:

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This “people dying from vaping” story is blown way out of proportion. The deaths are caused by illegally produced THC juice. The regular nicotine juices are perfectly safe. Certainly better than smoking cigarettes.

Quitting altogether would be best, however switching to vaping could keep your nicotine needs satisfied while posing less of a risk to your health. Losing your medical is easier than it may seem, and the results can be catastrophic for your flying career.

I don’t know that I would describe any form of vaping as “perfectly safe”.

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