Smoking is one of the preventable leading causes of death worldwide. Most of the studies focused on the association between smoking and cardiovascular disease, pulmonary diseases, malignancy and death. However, the direct effect of smoking on the renal system was undermind. There are emerging evidence correlating tobacco use with pathological changes in the normal kidneys. The effect is more obvious on the renal allograft most probably due to the chronic immune suppression status and the metabolic effect of the drugs. Several studies have documented a deleterious effect of smoking on the renal transplant recipients. Smoking was associated with lowering patient and graft survival. Smoking cessation proved to improve graft survival and to a lesser extent recipient survival. Even receiving a renal transplant from a smoker donor increases the risk of death for the recipient and carries a poorer graft survival compared to non-smoking donors. Most of the studies investigating the effect of smoking were based on self-reporting questioners, which may be misleading due to poor recall or the desire to give socially acceptable answers. This made the need of a reliable biomarker of ultimate importance. Cotinine was proposed as a promising biomarker that may help to provide objective evidence regarding the status of smoking and the dose of nicotine exposure, yet there are still some limitations of its use. The aim of this work is to review the current evidence to improve our understanding of this critical topic. Indeed, this will help to guide better-designed studies in the future.