Why Sanji shouldn’t have started smoking

Sanji is a complex character introduced early in the Baratie arc One piece. Eventually, he joins Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates, though his specific quest is to find the All Blue, a sea region where fish from all oceans can be found in one place. His dream dates back to early childhood and even the trauma he experiences cannot stop him. One thing that his trauma would certainly have affected, however, is his smoking habit. It’s highly unlikely that anyone who went through this would ever pick up a habit as addictive as smoking.

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One piece follows the story of Monkey D. Luffy as he gathers a crew and sets out to conquer the Grand Line to become the Pirate King. The first arcs focus on sourcing a solid crew before heading to the Grand Line. The Baratie arc comes after Luffy acquires a swordsman, Zoro, a navigator, Nami, and a sniper, Usopp. In this arc, he finally finds a chef, Sanji.

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What happened to Sanji?

When Sanji was a child and working as a cooking trainee, his ship was attacked by pirates and sunk in a storm. His life was saved by the captain of the pirate crew at the expense of the captain’s leg. The two were abandoned on a raised rocky island with only what little food Zeff was able to salvage from the water before they washed up. Zeff gives Sanji food for five days and advises him to ration it so it lasts longer. The two nearly starve, and Sanji discovers that Zeff gave him all the food and not just one portion.


When the two are finally rescued, they stay together and together set up an offshore restaurant with the obligation not to let a soul go hungry. They wanted to make sure no other person had to go through what they were doing. This causes serious problems for the restaurant when they feed War and his crew, restoring the pirates’ strength and encouraging them to attack the restaurant.

Sanji today

When viewers first meet Sanji, his habit of smoking quickly becomes a primary character trait, as does his hot-tempered personality. Throughout the series, he is unlikely to be seen without his trademark cigarette, and their condition is often representative of Sanji’s own. While this serves to visually set him apart from the rest of the crew and give him a unique identifier, it’s unlikely that someone who’s been through what Sanji has been through would ever embark on something as addictive as this.


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It has been noted multiple times that his trauma still affects him greatly to this day. He refuses to ever waste food and when something happens to it he gets very upset about it. He also refuses to ever starve anyone, despite the consequences that War and his men might prove. However, Sanji’s trauma doesn’t seem to make him worry about his health or a balanced diet, implying that at least the negative aspects of cigarettes probably wouldn’t weigh heavily on him either.


Sanji and cigarettes

His awareness of food scarcity and what life might be like without something badly needed is so ingrained in him that it has become his personality. However, nicotine is also a substance that creates an intense need in its users. Sanji knows what it’s like to live without. Why would he willingly create something else, the loss of which could make him feel worse than death?

It doesn’t make any logical sense why Sanji would ever have started smoking, let alone why he would always have a cigarette in his mouth. What will he do if he’s ever abandoned again? Withdrawing, especially when one is weak, can kill a human.


The counter-argument for this may lie in the temporal setting of the story. When exactly is not entirely clear One piece fixed because the characters wear modern clothes but no modern technology is present. Perhaps medicine hasn’t advanced enough for people to understand what nicotine can do to a person. It’s entirely possible that Sanji had no idea cigarettes were addictive when he picked up the habit.

It’s also possible that by the time he realized it, it was too late and he couldn’t walk without her. Regardless, the fact that Sanji smokes cigarettes is a highly uncharacteristic aspect of this deeply traumatized character, which serves to undermine his words and actions when scrutinized too closely. From a simple, superficial aspect of character design, it helps set his tone as the chef of the noir-era romantics fairly well. But look deeper than simple aesthetics and it’s extremely difficult to justify this particular habit.

MORE: What else to learn from Princess Mononoke

https://gamerant.com/one-piece-sanji-smoking/ Why Sanji shouldn’t have started smoking

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