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Smoking vs. Tuxedo: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 6, 2023
"Smoking" refers to the act of inhaling smoke from burning substances; "Tuxedo" is a formal suit for men.

Key Differences

"Smoking" is an action, often related to the consumption of tobacco or other substances that are ignited and inhaled. It's a verb that describes the act itself or an adjective describing a place where this activity is permitted, such as a smoking area. On the other hand, a "tuxedo" is a noun that describes a specific type of formal attire for men, typically worn to black-tie events. It consists of a black or midnight blue coat with lapels and usually includes a bow tie.
A "smoking" jacket, which might be confused with the term "smoking," is actually a casual jacket worn by men over evening wear for indoor leisure—quite different from a tuxedo, which is considered formal outdoor wear. Moreover, "smoking" can also describe something filled with or smelling of smoke, whereas "tuxedo" has no such connotations and strictly refers to the formal suit.
The term "smoking" can be used as a noun to refer to the act of smoking itself ("Smoking is bad for your health") or as an adjective ("No smoking in the building"). Conversely, "tuxedo" does not function as a verb or adjective; it is strictly a noun referring to the suit itself ("He rented a tuxedo for the prom").
When discussing health and environment, "smoking" is often mentioned in negative contexts, such as smoking-related illnesses or smoking bans. In contrast, "tuxedo" carries a cultural connotation of elegance and formality, often associated with positive events like weddings and galas.
In various languages, notably French, "smoking" can sometimes refer to a tuxedo, causing confusion among English speakers. However, in English, the distinction remains clear: "smoking" relates to the act of inhaling smoke, and "tuxedo" refers to the formal male attire suitable for special occasions.

Comparison Chart

Part of Speech

Verb and adjective

Related To

Act of inhaling smoke, smoke-filled
Formal men's attire


Health, addiction, leisure (jacket)
Elegance, formality, special occasions

Usage in Health

Negative (smoking is harmful)
Not applicable

Cultural Context

Varied, often negative or cautionary
Positive, associated with celebratory events

Smoking and Tuxedo Definitions


Clothing, specifically a jacket, for casual home entertainment.
He donned his smoking jacket before the guests arrived.


A man's formal evening suit for very formal occasions.
He wore a tuxedo to the award ceremony.


Designated areas or practices for smoking tobacco.
The hotel offers a smoking room for guests.


The jacket part of the formal attire, typically black or midnight blue.
His tuxedo jacket had a satin lapel.


Emitting smoke in large volumes.
The damaged engine was smoking heavily.


The term "tuxedo" can sometimes refer to any similar formal attire for women or children.
The child wore a miniature tuxedo that matched his father's.


The act of inhaling and exhaling the smoke of burning tobacco.
He quit smoking last year for his health.


A full set of formal wear including the jacket, trousers, waistcoat, and often a bow tie.
He rented a complete tuxedo for the wedding.


Preparing food by curing it with smoke from burning or smoldering material.
Smoking salmon imparts a delicious flavor.


A style of men's suit adapted from the tuxedo for less formal occasions.
The semi-formal event allowed for a more relaxed tuxedo style.


Engaging in the smoking of tobacco
Smoking passengers.


A dress jacket, usually black with satin or grosgrain lapels, worn for formal or semiformal occasions. Also called dinner jacket.


Designated or reserved for smokers
The smoking section of a restaurant.


A complete outfit including this jacket, trousers usually with a silken stripe down the side, a bow tie, and often a cummerbund.


A typically black formal jacket worn by men.


Is a tuxedo always black?

Traditionally, tuxedos are black or midnight blue, but modern styles can vary in color.

What is a tuxedo?

A tuxedo is a formal suit for men, typically worn to black-tie events.

Can "smoking" be used as a noun?

Yes, "smoking" can be a noun referring to the act itself or areas designated for this activity.

Does "smoking" have positive connotations?

Usually not; smoking is often associated with health risks and addiction.

Can women wear tuxedos?

Yes, there are women's styles adapted from the traditional male tuxedo.

Can "smoking" also refer to a type of jacket?

Yes, a smoking jacket is a casual jacket worn over evening wear for indoor leisure.

Are there different types of tuxedos?

Yes, there are various styles of tuxedos for different levels of formality.

What is the origin of the word "tuxedo"?

The term comes from Tuxedo Park, NY, where the garment was first popularized.

What does "smoking" mean?

Smoking refers to the act of inhaling smoke from burning tobacco or other substances.

Why is smoking in public places often restricted?

Due to health risks associated with secondhand smoke, many places restrict public smoking.

Can "smoking" be used to describe food?

Yes, in terms of food preparation, smoking refers to flavoring food by exposing it to smoke.

Is there a female equivalent to a tuxedo?

Yes, there are tuxedo-style garments designed for women.

Does a tuxedo include a tie?

A traditional tuxedo is worn with a black bow tie.

Is a smoking area a place to wear a tuxedo?

No, a smoking area is a designated place for people to smoke cigarettes or cigars.

Is vaping considered smoking?

Legally and socially, vaping is often treated similarly to smoking but involves inhaling vapor.

Are smoking jackets the same as tuxedo jackets?

No, smoking jackets are more casual and not meant for formal events like a tuxedo.

Is "smoking" ever used in a positive context?

It can be neutral or positive when referring to smoking food for flavor.

What's the difference between a suit and a tuxedo?

A tuxedo is more formal, with satin lapels and a bow tie, while suits are less formal and versatile.

What accessories are commonly worn with a tuxedo?

Common accessories include a bow tie, cummerbund, or waistcoat, and sometimes cufflinks.

Is it acceptable to wear a tuxedo during the day?

Typically, tuxedos are reserved for evening events, but fashion rules can be flexible.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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