Peasant scenes were very popular in Netherlandish genre painting after they were introduced by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Small-format tavern interiors by Joos van Craesbeeck follow this tradition, which was also influenced by Adriaen Brouwer. Van Craesbeeck adapted Brouwer’s model in this picture. A pipe-smoking man sitting in a sparsely lit, dark tavern interior allows the smoke to flow through his lips with great pleasure. His gaze is pensive and introverted. The subject of the picture is the negative effect of smoking, which was called roock-drinken, or “drinking smoke”. The dehydrating effect of tobacco consumption, which at the time was inextricably associated with increased alcohol intake and the ensuing drowsiness, suggests the mortal sin of sloth – one of the negative consequences of this vice.