Smoking: What Does the Bible Say?



Smoking: What does the Bible say?


What Does the Bible Say? 

Cigarettes, Cigars, Pipes, Snuff, Chewing Tobacco—

Help and Hope for Those Who Wish to Find

Personal Freedom From Life’s Enslavements

Richard Hollerman

John, a brother in Christ, drove me to the medical center to visit his friend, Bill.  We knew that Bill’s condition was serious—but we were not sure how serious.  John had attempted to speak to him about Christ and his need of forgiveness but could receive no commitment.  Bill’s illness continued to progress and his physical condition became increasingly worse.

John and I found the room and approached Bill’s bed, unprepared for what we found.  The patient was incoherent, seemingly unable to comprehend the message of Christ we attempted to explain.  We opened the Scriptures, seeking to show God’s judgment that comes on those in sin as well as the salvation that He graciously offers through Christ’s atoning death.  We urged Bill to repent of his sins and believe on the Savior.  Our words, however, were only met with a blank stare, touched with a look of horror.  Bill could not be reached.  He was beyond the power of the gospel.  Within days Bill died and met the Lord—unprepared.

There are millions of “Bills” in this world! These are men and women who thought they could do what they wanted and wouldn’t need to face the consequences of their physical sins.


Smoking: What does the Bible say?

Each year, some 146,000 people—men and women—die of this dreaded disease.[1]  In at last 87 percent of the cases, smoking is the cause.[2]  Does God have anything to say about the use of tobacco?  Are there any principles in His Word that would address this contemporary but controversial topic?  About 48 million adults in the United States are current smokers, thus we ask: How does God our Creator view the use of tobacco—whether it be cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or smokeless tobacco?

Principles that Relate to Smoking

A Bible concordance is a word index that shows where each word is located in the Scriptures.  If you were to consult such a volume and look up “tobacco,” you would find no instance of the word from Genesis to Revelation.  Although the words, “smoking” and “smoke,” are found a number of places, none of the occurrences relate to smoking tobacco or any other material similar to it.

Someone may say, “If the Bible doesn’t mention smoking, we shouldn’t condemn its use!”  We would reply by pointing out that the Bible does not speak of abortion, pornography, heroin, child molestation, bank robbery, airplane hijacking, computer hacking, and many other practices known in our contemporary world.  Since smoking tobacco (or even the existence of tobacco) was unknown during the time the Bible was written, we should not expect it to address this subject specifically.  However, since the Scriptures are inspired of God and enable us to be “adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17),[3] we are able to consult the Bible for principles that may be applied to every question that arises in our modern world.  This includes the use of tobacco in its various forms.

Although we are addressing this topic by way of smoking, the principles that we will cover relate equally to the use of smokeless tobacco.  Bear this in mind as we proceed.  Consider the following questions as they relate to the use of tobacco.  Notice the principles from the Word of God that may be used to answer the questions.[4]

  • Would Jesus use tobacco?

If Jesus were living on earth today, what would He do if someone offered Him a cigarette to smoke?  What would be His response to cigarette advertising?  If He would enter a store that sells cigarettes, would He reach for a pack and buy it?  Surely everyone who knows anything about the character of our Savior, who was “holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners” (Hebrews 7:26), realizes that Jesus would not smoke.  He would not use tobacco in any form.

The Bible says that Jesus left you “an example for you to follow in His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).  If one chooses to smoke, is he following in Jesus’ steps?  Today, people are asking the question, “What would Jesus do?”[5]  Some even wear clothing with the letters, “WWJD?”  If we sincerely ask this question, we must admit that Jesus would not smoke and those who “follow in His steps” will not smoke!  John writes, “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6).  The only way to “abide” in Jesus and have a saving relationship with Him is to walk as Jesus walked—being holy, innocent, undefiled, and separated from the ways of sin around us.  The followers of Christ will not use tobacco—because He would not use it.

  • Is smoking really true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and of good repute?

This is an excellent test for music, books, magazines, toys, games, sports, television, movies, and so many other activities in life.  It is also true in regard to smoking.  Paul writes, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence, and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (Phil. 4:8).  Can we honestly say that smoking cigarettes, cigars, or a pipe is “honorable” or “pure” or “lovely”?  On the contrary, it is dishonorable and impure and unlovely!  Is it really of “good repute” or “admirable” (NIV)?  No, it is not of good repute and is the opposite of admirable!  Is it “excellent” or “praiseworthy” (NIV)?  Obviously not.  It is the very opposite of this!  The Christian must not indulge in tobacco in any of its forms if he or she wishes to obey God’s will in this matter.

  • Does smoking harm the body?

Suppose you carefully saved your money and finally were able to give a costly gift to a friend.  Then imagine visiting the friend only to find your gift in the yard, abused and weather-beaten or possibly even destroyed.  It would hurt you, knowing that he had so little respect for you and interest in the gift that he was careless with it.  Actually, our body is a gift from God!  God created Adam, the first man, and since that time He is very much involved in the birth of each person who is conceived in the mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13-16).  The psalmist prays, “I will give thanks to You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well” (v. 14).


Smoking: What does the Bible say?

Not only did God make you, but He also redeemed you—if you are His child.  Based on this fact, Paul asks, “Do you not know that . . . you are not your own?”  He then adds, “You have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:20).  God owns you and your body by right of creation and by right of purchase!  You do not belong to yourself but to God.  You don’t have the right to treat your body with disrespect since it doesn’t belong to you.  The apostle also commands, “I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Romans 12:1).

Therefore, God has a great interest in your physical body and is very concerned if you are abusing it with tobacco.  Obviously, many people also harm their body with harmful drugs and alcohol, junk food or too much food, and in other ways.  However, smoking is a leading way people harm their body in our age.  (We shall return to this in a subsequent section.)

  • Does smoking foolishly waste money?

This is a question that the smoker should know how to answer.  Nothing good comes from the money wasted on this habit.  The money is simply squandered in a selfish and destructive manner.  But consider the use of your money for a moment.  If you are a Christian, you are a “steward” of what belongs to God; what you “own” is not really your own (cf. 1 Cor. 4:2; 10:26).  All of your possessions, all of your income, and your very body belongs to God.  Furthermore, the money that God gives you is limited.  Jesus says that the way we use money (or “mammon”) is an indicator of our faithfulness to Him and His will (Luke 16:9-13).  He gives us a financial income to test whether we will be faithful to Him.  When someone makes foolish expenditures with his money, he proves that he is not faithful to the Lord who gave him the money!  Can anyone say that money spent on tobacco is wisely used for God’s glory?[6]


Smoking: What does the Bible say?

Someone may respond by saying that smoking doesn’t cost very much.  Even it involved a mere quarter or dime, it would still be unwise, but it costs much more than this.  Suppose one spends $3.50 each day for a pack of cigarettes.[7]  How much would this amount to in one year?  The smoker would waste $1,277.50 in one year!  Consider how much a smoker could save during his lifetime if he chose not to smoke.  In fact, suppose that a fifteen-year-old boy chose not to smoke but placed in the bank the $3.50 he would have spent each day for cigarettes.  Suppose further that he earned interest on his savings for that year.[8]  And let’s assume that the boy does this year by year until his sixty-sixth birthday when he retires.

Do you have any idea how much money he would have saved by not smoking during his life?  He would have the incredible sum of $2,021,147.51—more than two million dollars![9]  If one chooses to smoke, he chooses to throw away a vast amount of money on a selfish habit.  He misuses the money God has given to him—money that could be used in the work of the Lord.  It will be money that he must give account of one day at the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10).

Looking at this matter of tobacco expense from a broader perspective, the American Cancer Society states: “Tobacco use . . . drains the U.S. economy of more than $100 billion in health care costs and lost productivity. . . . Even though smokers die younger than the average American, over the course of their lives, current and former smokers generate an estimated $501 billion in excess health care costs.  On average, each cigarette pack sold costs Americans more than $3.90 in smoking-related expenses.”[10]  It is impossible for us to imagine these astronomical financial figures associated with the use of tobacco but they do underline one of the chief reasons why smoking is sinful.

  • Does smoking foolishly waste time?

Just as the Christian must be a good steward of the money God gives to him, he must also be a wise steward of his time.  Our time is limited.[11]  We have only 1,440 minutes each day.  Much of that is spent on necessary activities, such as sleeping, eating, daily employment, traveling, praying, studying Scripture, relating to one’s spouse, and training one’s children.  Suppose that it takes five minutes to smoke each cigarette and one smokes twenty cigarettes each day.  The smoker would waste 100 minutes (one hour and forty minutes) each day smoking!  Even if one only wasted three minutes per cigarette, he would waste an entire hour a day, seven hours a week, and nearly nine 40-hour weeks per year—just on smoking!  That is like throwing away a nine-week vacation each year, just smoking 3-minute cigarettes!

Paul writes, “Be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16; cf. Psalm 90:12).  We are to make the most of our time since that time is limited and since it belongs to God.  Every cigarette smoked reveals an unfaithfulness to the Lord in this sacred stewardship.

  • Does smoking reveal a lack of love?

The Lord Jesus said that the greatest command is love: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37).  He goes on to say that the second is similar: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”(v. 39).  Love for God and love for others is the essence of our relationship to God and other people.


Smoking: What does the Bible say?

Let’s discuss love for others for a moment.  Paul the apostle gives a description of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.  Consider several of the elements that he mentions in this passage: “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth” (vv. 4-6).  In light of this Scripture passage, the smoker should answer these questions:

  • Is the smoker “kind” to others when he smokes in their presence? (Is the smoker kind to his family when he takes money that could bless their lives and uses it on a selfish habit?  Is he kind to them when he injures their physical health?) 
  • Does the smoker act “unbecomingly” when he smokes? (Isn’t it unbecoming to be a poor example to children and anyone else?) 
  • Does the smoker “seek his own”? (Does he seek his own pleasure and desire when he insists on smoking at the expense of the Lord’s work, misusing the Lord’s money, misusing the Lord’s time, and hurting other people physically and emotionally?) 
  • Does the smoker “rejoice in unrighteousness”? (Even most smokers will admit that smoking is not a “righteous” habit; indeed, it is an unrighteous practice.)

The apostle Paul says, “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10).  Does the smoker “do wrong” to others when he smokes?  Yes, he does wrong to his wife, to his children, to his friends, and to others who see and are influenced by his filthy habit.  As this relates to the $2,000,000 the smoker wastes (see the previous point), is it truly loving for him to spend money on himself when he could use it to bless others with it?  When the smoker gives a cigarette to a friend who asks for one, does he really love him?

When the smoker smokes, does he really love those near to him who must breathe his secondhand smoke—and suffer illness because of it?  When an expectant mother smokes, does she really love her unborn child who is harmed by the nicotine and other chemicals?  When the smoker helps to promote a wicked and destructive tobacco industry, does he really love those who make and sell the cigarettes?  Clearly, the smoker does not truly love others when he uses tobacco!  He is partaking of a very unloving activity!

  • Does smoking give a negative example to others?

Paul writes to Timothy with these words: “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe” (1 Tim. 4:12).  He says the same to Titus: “In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds” (2:7a).  Can the smoker claim to be a good, worthy, and proper example to other people?  On the contrary, most smokers will tell others not to begin smoking or tell them to quit smoking, if they can.  An example may be defined as “a pattern or model, as of something to be imitated or avoided.”  The smoker cannot offer himself as a good “pattern” or “model” for others to follow.

Not only are we to be examples for others to follow, but we are to be imitators of the Lord Jesus.  Paul writes to the brothers: “You also became imitators of us and of the Lord . . . so that you became an example to all the believers” (1 Thess. 1:6-7).  We are to imitate the Lord and then be an example to other people!  Surely the Lord would not smoke and surely we cannot be a proper example to others if we do smoke.  As Paul wrote, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1).  Let us imitate Jesus and the apostle Paul.  Neither of them would smoke!

If a father chooses to smoke, does he provide a good and worthy example to his children?  Does a mother give a good example to her sons and daughters?  In both cases, the parents would be providing a very poor example.  They would be examples of selfish indulgence, lack of control, misspending money, carnal pleasure-seeking, filthiness, and lack of love.  Does a smoker give a good example to any child or adult?  Definitely not.  Let us determine to be a good and worthy example to all who see and know us!

  • Would smoking be a “stumbling block” to others?

Jesus declared, “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come!  It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble” (Luke 17:1-2).  The term  “stumbling block” comes from the Greek noun skandalon and the verb “to stumble” comes from skandalizo.  The former means, “temptation to sin, enticement to apostasy, false belief,” and the latter means, “cause to be caught or to fall, i.e. cause to sin.”[12]  Jesus said that if we do something that would lead someone else to sin, we ourselves are guilty of a heinous sin before God.

Does the smoker do anything that would encourage another person to sin?  Does he encourage others to take up this filthy habit?  Yes, by his example he does lead others to sin.  Furthermore, buying cigarettes for another or giving a cigarette to another also encourages him or her to sin.  If someone wanted to commit suicide and asked you for a gun, would you give it to him?  If you would, you are responsible for his self-murder.  Paul wrote, “If food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble” (1 Cor. 8:13).  If the apostle could say this about something good (such as food), certainly it can be said about something that is bad, such as tobacco.  But even if smoking were not in itself sinful, Paul would say, “If smoking causes my brother to stumble into violating his conscience and taking up smoking and thereby sinning, I will never smoke again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble.”  If smoking would be wrong even if was not sinful, how much more wrong is smoking since it is sinful!

  • Is smoking an addiction? 

Everyone knows the answer to this question.  Smoking is very addictive and people find it difficult to stop once they have become addicted.  The Office on Smoking and Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, found that 40.7 percent of “current every-day smokers attempted to quit . . . for at least one day during the preceding 12 months.”[13]  Young people particularly become addicted to the use of tobacco.  “Teenagers find it very difficult to quit smoking—72.9% of teens who had ever smoked daily had tried to quit and only 13.5% had been successful.”[14]  Ask the smokers whom you know and many of them will say that they would like to quit and wish that they had never started.


Smoking: What does the Bible say?

Tobacco contains the addictive drug nicotine.  The 1988 Surgeon General’s Report, “Nicotine Addiction,” concluded, “Pharmacologic and behavioral characteristics that determine tobacco addition are similar to those that determine addiction to drugs such as heroin and cocaine.”[15]  Even Philip Morris reported in The Wall Street Journal that nicotine is a “similar organic compound” to such drugs as morphine, cocaine, quinine, and atropine but “nicotine has a particularly broad range of influence.”[16]  The American Heart Association observes, “The addiction to nicotine has historically been one of the most difficult to break.”[17]

Scripture has much to say about addiction but it refers to it as slavery or bondage.  Jesus said, “Everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin” (John 8:34b).  Peter adds, “By what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved” (2 Peter 2:19b).  We definitely can say that many smokers are “overcome” by the attraction of tobacco and thereby become “slaves” to the filthy practice of smoking.  Paul also declares, “Not all things are profit-able. . . . I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Cor. 6:12).  In another place, he asks, “Do you not know that when you present yourselves to some-one as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?” (Rom. 6:16).

The question is not whether a person is a slave.  Everyone is a slave.  The question is to whom or to what we are enslaved: sin or obedience?  Smoking or abstinence?  The apostle further commands, “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts” (Rom. 6:12).  We must escape from the lusts of our physical body, whether that be smoking, taking drugs, getting drunk, or indulging in any other harmful conduct.

  • Is smoking of the world?

Again and again in Scripture we are warned against partaking in the ways of the world.  James declares, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God?  Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).  Those who align themselves with the world and its evil ways place themselves in opposition to God Himself!  The same writer says that we are to keep ourselves “unstained by the world” (1:27).  And Paul gives this command: “Do not be conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2).  John adds, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

What does the “world” mean in passages like these?  John answers: “All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.  The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:16-17).  Consider the three elements of the world mentioned in this passage.

Does smoking involve the “lust of the flesh”?  The smoker definitely has a lust (eager and inordinate desire) to satisfy his fleshly appetites in using tobacco.  Does smoking involve the “lust of the eyes”?  The smoker sees the subtle but powerful advertisements for Camel, Marlboro, Virginia Slims, and other brands and lusts for the pleasure promised.  Does smoking involve the “boastful pride of life”?  The smoker sees the rugged cowboy, the handsome athlete, the vivacious movie star, the dignified businessman, the youthful couple, and then pridefully desires the same popularity and prestige depicted.  The young teenager sees the adult smoker and pridefully desires to be looked upon as grownup and mature himself.  We can definitely see that smoking is of the world, and “the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God [by remaining pure and undefiled] lives forever” (1 John 2:17).

  • Is smoking for the glory of God?

God, our majestic Creator and Redeemer, is worthy to receive the glory, honor, worship, and praise of His grateful subjects.  Scripture points out that our life should be such that “in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:11).  Paul commands, quite directly, “Glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:20b).  So encompassing is this principle that Scripture succinctly declares, “Whether, then you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).  Surely no one can conceive that the smoker glorifies God when he lights up a cigarette or cigar, dips snuff, or puffs on a pipe.  Smoking simply does not glorify God!  On the contrary, smoking dishonors the God who gave us a body to glorify Him.


Smoking: What does the Bible say?

  • Would smoking be a barrier to outsiders? 

What do we mean by this question?  If a Christian were to smoke, would this activity cause others to be drawn to Christ and His way of life?  Or would it repel people from the Christ whom one professes?  The apostle Paul wrote, “I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more. . . . I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some” (1 Cor. 9:19b, 22b; cf. vv. 19-23).  He continues, “I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved” (10:33).  The apostle also says, “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good” (Rom. 15:2).  We should seek to accommodate ourselves to others in order to win them—but never do wrong in the process.

How does this relate to smoking?  If a knowledgeable unbeliever would want to learn how to be saved from sin, would he come to the smoker who professes to be a Christian?  If he realizes that smoking harms the body and is sinful, why would he seek information from someone who claims to be saved but is still a slave to sin?  Since he wishes to be set free from sin by Christ, he logically would not seek help from one who is in the same kind of bondage to a fleshly habit as he is.  Jesus our Liberator said, “If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).  Paul adds this: “Thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:17-18).

If the unbeliever who is in sin understands anything about the way of Christ, he will know that the one professing to be a Christian who continues in bondage to sin is walking in hypocrisy.  He is professing to be a Christian but his practice denies the reality of his profession.  Rather than attracting the unsaved person to Christ, the practice of sin (of smoking) it will cause him to either slander “Christianity” that will allow continued sin or it will make him give up in defeat, thinking that even professing Christians do not have the answer to slavery to sin.  Either way, smoking does great harm to the person who seeks salvation.

It may be that some smokers do not know how repulsed many nonsmokers are in the presence of tobacco smoke.  They find the smoke and stench of tobacco extremely offensive.  This is true in regard to cigarette smoking, cigar smoking, and pipe smoking.  Simply smelling the odor of the smoker can be sickening to some people.  Further, the one who dips snuff should understand that his filthy practice is very offensive to the majority.  Can you imagine what is must be like for the nonsmoking spouse to kiss a smoker or kiss one who keeps a wad of tobacco in his mouth!  Can you visualize a smoking or dipping father kissing his dear children?   Even the thought is repulsive and disgusting!  Paul writes, “Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God” (1 Cor. 10:32).

  • Does smoking lead to association with bad companions?

The apostle Paul warns, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals’” (1 Cor. 15:33).  Again, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers” (2 Cor. 6:14; cf. vv. 14-17; Psa. 1:1-3; Prov. 22:24-25; 13:20).  In contrast, the follower of Christ is to have fellowship with other faithful Christians.  “Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Tim. 2:22).  The psalmist prayed, “I am a companion of all those who fear You, and of those who keep Your precepts” (Psalm 119:63).  While the Christian does have contact with those in sin (1 Cor. 5:9-10) for the purpose of reaching them for Christ (cf. Luke 5:30-32), he does not have close and regular fellowship with them.

Consider those who smoke cigarettes or use smokeless tobacco.  Although there are exceptions to the rule, generally those who smoke do not go to church or profess to be religious.  If they do go to some church, they do not go to the more Biblically-oriented churches.[18]  Generally, the smoker is more apt to use profanity and use drugs than the non-smoker.  A report by the Surgeon General gives us these findings:

Teens who smoke are three times more likely than nonsmokers to use alcohol, eight times more likely to use marijuana, and 22 times more likely to use cocaine.  Smoking is associated with a host of other risky behaviors, such as fighting and engaging in unprotected sex.[19]

We also can definitely say that the woman who smokes is more inclined to ungodly feminism.  The smoker is more apt to not read his Bible, or pray, or seek God in other ways.  Definitely, the regular and unrepentant smoker cannot be entirely committed to Christ or be spiritual in demeanor.  Therefore, it can safely be said that one who continues to smoke places himself with those who are not on the Lord’s side.  We do not imply that all smokers are bank robbers, rapists, child molesters, or homosexuals.  Indeed, some of these may be tobacco abstainers!  We simply point out that, generally speaking, the smoker identifies himself with an element of society that is not genuinely seeking God in sincerity and truth.  For this reason, one should be willing to renounce this habit immediately.

  • Does smoking violate any of the fruit of the Spirit?

Scripture tells us that God gives the Holy Spirit when one comes to Christ and is saved.  Peter commanded interested inquirers on the day of Pentecost: “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself” (Acts 2:38-39; cf. 5:32; Eph. 1:13).  The Holy Spirit works in the believer’s life and produces fruit of a changed, transformed character that is increasingly conformed to the likeness of God and of Christ (2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4:23-24; Col. 3:9-10).

In various places, the New Testament writers mention these spiritual qualities or characteristics.  Notice, for example, Galatians 5:22-23a, 25: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control . . . . If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”  Does smoking violate any of these qualities of life?  For instance, does smoking conflict with the principle of love?  We have already given evidence that it does.  Does smoking violate peace?  Many smokers will admit that they smoke because they do not have an inner peace and they must use tobacco to deal with inner stress and frustration.

Does smoking violate any of the other fruit listed at this place?  Yes, the smoker may display a degree of kindness, however, he is not kind to his family or friends when he smokes.  Further, the smoker fails to express goodness when he smokes and is not faithful to God when he smokes.  He especially fails to practice selfcontrol when he is a slave to tobacco.  The smoker, therefore, does not genuinely display the “fruit” of the Spirit in its many facets.  This should not be surprising since the Word of God says, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal. 5:24).

Many other spiritual qualities are mentioned in Scripture.  The Christian is to be generous (2 Cor. 9:6-7; Luke 21:1-4), but the smoker is not able to be as generous with his money since he must spend an exorbitant amount on tobacco.  The Christian is to be obedient (Romans 6:16), but the smoker fails to obey many Biblical principles when he smokes.  The believer is to be holy in flesh and spirit (2 Cor. 7:1), but the smoker definitely is not holy when he uses tobacco.  The follower of Jesus is to be pure in heart and life (Matt. 5:8), but smoking is a form of impurity.  The Christian is to practice contentment (Phil. 4:11), but the smoker uses tobacco because he is not content to abstain from the practice.  The believer is to be thrifty (Luke 16:10-11), but the smoker fails to demonstrate this quality.  The Christian is to practice a rigorous self-discipline over his body (1 Cor. 9:24-27), but the smoker clearly fails to display this trait.

Not only does the smoker fail to display such positive spiritual qualities as these in his life, but he does the very opposite.  He displays various works of the flesh in his life, such as hypocrisy (Matt. 23:38), selfishness (1 Cor. 10:24), loving pleasure (2 Tim. 3:4), fear of peer pressure (Matt. 10:28), worldliness (1 John 2:15-17), foolishness (Titus 3:3), and others.  All of this shows that we must renounce the use of tobacco and must pursue God with the fruit that the Holy Spirit works in our life.

(15 )  Is smoking a foolish habit?

Most non-smokers will assert and many smokers will confess that smoking is a foolish habit.  Although a few who use tobacco will try to defend their practice (“Others may get cancer but I won’t,” “Smoking sooths my nerves,” “It gives me a pick-up”), probably the majority of smokers will openly acknowledge the foolishness of what they are doing.  Many openly admit that they should not be involved in such a foolish habit.


Smoking: What does the Bible say?

Jesus said that “foolishness” is an “evil thing” that proceeds from the heart and defiles a person (Mark 7:22-23).  Paul himself confessed that he lived in foolishness before coming to Christ: “We also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures” (Titus 3:3a).  The apostle even admonishes Christians to lay aside foolish living: “Do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17).  Since nearly everyone acknowledges that smoking is a foolish habit and the Christian knows that smoking is a foolish practice devised by Satan, we must totally reject the use of tobacco in all of its forms.

(16) Does the smoker violate his conscience?

Our conscience is a very precious gift from God.  The conscience is the inner capacity to judge whether what we do is in agreement with what we believe to be right or wrong.  The conscience is only a reliable guide if it has been so educated that it accurately reflects the will of God.  Although the conscience is not a totally reliable gauge of right and wrong, we must submit to the conscience when be believe that a certain activity is in harmony with God’s will.  Paul brings this principle out in Romans 14:23: “He who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.”  In other words, if one believes that something is wrong, he must not do it.  If he does it, he sins.  In terms of our discussion, “He who doubts is condemned if he smokes, because his smoking is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith it sin.”

Few smokers are convinced that using tobacco is in harmony with the will of God.  Most will admit that they should quit the habit and they wish that they never would have begun to smoke.  Yet, they continue smoking!  In other words, they continue to do what they believe (rightly so) is wrong!  The Christian must never violate his conscience.  He must have a clear, good, and undefiled conscience (Acts 23:1; 24:16).  Paul writes, “The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. . . . keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to the faith” (1 Tim. 1:5, 19).  The Christian may keep a “good conscience” if he does not knowingly, deliberately sin in any way.  He must refuse to indulge in smoking or any other activity that is wrong.  The following poem sets forth the importance of maintaining this clear conscience:


I have to live with myself, and so

I want to be fit for myself to know.

I want to be able as the days go by

Always to look myself in the eye.


I don’t want to stand with the evening sun

And hate myself for the things I’ve done.

I can never hide myself from me,

I see what others may never see,


I know what others may never know,

I never can hide myself, and so

Whatever happens I want to be

Self-respecting and conscience free.


(Author unknown)

This thought is applicable to many different activities that we may do in life.  Although our main concern in smoking or any other sin must be God Himself, we cannot overlook this element of keeping a clear conscience for our own sense of respect and inner peace.  “We have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things” (Heb. 13:18b).  Let us seek to maintain “a blameless conscience both before God and before men” (Acts 24:16).

What is amazing is that some smokers are able to knowingly, deliberately, light up a cigarette in public and not be ashamed of their action.  Jeremiah writes, “’Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done?  They were not even ashamed at all; they did not even know how to blush.  Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be cast down,’ says the LORD” (6:15).  Apparently the smoker generally comes to the place that his conscience no longer convicts him of his smoking sin.  He isn’t even ashamed to be seen smoking in the presence of others; he doesn’t know how to blush; he openly sins before God and others.

Tobacco Harms the Body

The history of tobacco and its relationship to health is an interesting account.[20]  Little is known about its early use yet we know that American Indians employed it since before the time of Christ for their religious and medical practices.

Most of us are aware that tobacco research since the Second World War and particularly since the 1950s has provided solid evidence that smoking is extremely dangerous to human health.  However, for many centuries at least some have known that smoking is physically injurious to one’s health.


Smoking: What does the Bible say?

It is interesting to note that after the sailors of  Columbus brought tobacco back to Spain and its use spread to other European countries, many people were under the mistaken impression that it should be valued for its curative powers.[21]  For example, Nicolas Monardes, a Spanish doctor, claimed that tobacco could cure thirty-six different health problems!

Soon, however, the health dangers of tobacco were discovered.  King James I of England, in the latter sixteenth century, strongly opposed tobacco as an unnatural and detrimental practice that harmed physical health.[22]  In 1604 the King wrote his anonymous Counterblaste to Tobacco in which he condemned tobacco in no uncertain terms.  He referred to smoking as “a custom loathsome to the eye, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the black-stinking fumes thereof, neerest resembling the horrible stinking smoke of the pit that is bottomless. . . . Herein is not only a great vanity, but a great contempt of God’s good gifts, that the sweetness of man’s breath, being a good gift of God, should be wilfully corrupted by this stinking smoke.”[23]  Four hundred years ago it was possible to see that smoking is indeed a “loathsome custom”!

In 1632, it was illegal to smoke publicly in Massachusetts, although the main reason for this was on moral grounds rather than strictly health concerns.  Since it was first introduced into Europe, the habit of smoking was opposed on different fronts.  Samuel Green, from New England (in 1836), said that tobacco, as a poison and an insecticide, can be fatal.[24]  The British medical journal Lancet stated in 1857: “Tobacco is said to act on the mind by producing inactivity thereof; inability to think; drowsiness; irritability. . . . on the respiratory organs, it acts by causing consumption, haemoptysis, and inflamatory condition of the mucous membrane of the larynx, trachea, and bronchae, ulceration of the larynx; short irritable cough; hurried breathing.  The circulating organs are affected by irritable heart circulation.”[25]

The health dangers became increasingly apparent, with many spokesmen warning against tobacco use.  “According to many physicians, tobacco was the cause of colic, diarrhoea, asthma, ‘ulcerations of the lungs,’ nausea, emesis, coughs, pain in the heart, under-nourishment and impotence.  In addition, it caused changes of temperament and dryness of the brain.”[26]  A century ago Bouisson studied the oral cancer of 68 patients in a French hospital.  Of these, he could determine the habits of 67.  He discovered that 66 smoked tobacco and the remaining one chewed tobacco.  Evidence such as this began to increase, giving evidence that the use of tobacco was extremely harmful to one’s health.[27]  Some states even proposed a total ban on the use of tobacco.  In fact, by 1901, opposition to smoking was occurring in 43 of the 45 states.[28]  Up until this time, cigar smoking and use of smokeless tobacco was popular.  In 1901, six billion cigars were sold, compared to 3.5 billion cigarettes.[29]

About the turn of the century, cigarette smoking drastically increased.  Before this time, the average smoker in the United States smoked only about 40 cigar-ettes per year.  (Today many smokers may smoke 40 cigarettes per day!)  Three develop-ments contributed to this increase: the invention of a cigarette manufacturing machine, the development of the safety match, and mass advertising.[30]  This advertising began to reach out to women in the 1930s, using attractive women smokers to convince the American woman that she should smoke as the men had been smoking.  Amazingly, during World War II doctors in the United States endorsed sending cigarettes to the country’s servicemen!  These were included in their ration kits.[31]

After the War and into the 1950s, it became increasingly clear that tobacco was related to lung cancer and tobacco companies began promoting what they claimed were safer cigarettes.[32]  In 1954 R. J. Reynolds initiated its filter tip Winston.  In 1964 the report on “Smoking and Health,” issued by the Surgeon General, gave evidence that smoking is incredibly dangerous to one’s health.  Some 30 million Americans quit the year following the Surgeon General’s report.[33] Yet cigarette smoking continued to increase in those who remained smokers, showing the power of the flesh and carnal slavery to the power of tobacco.  Cigarette consumption reached a peak in 1977, with the average smoker smoked 12,854 cigarettes a year![34]  From the time of the report on “Smoking and Health” the government began to regulate advertising and sales.  Finally, in 1971, cigarette  television ads were removed in the United States and by the 1980s smoking was banned in many public places.[35]  The government required warning labels to be placed on tobacco advertising and cigarette packs.

Since the time of the Surgeon General’s report in 1964, the number of men who smoked decreased by 50 percent, to about 25 percent of the population.  But the number of women who smoked actually increased.  “By 1991, almost 44 million American had quit smoking cigarettes, nearly 50 percent of living American adults who ever smoked.”[36]

We can see that the detrimental effects of smoking have been known for a long time.  A massive amount of scientific evidence has accumulated during the past fifty years so that no one today can claim ignorance of the health dangers of using tobacco.  However, one writer charges that “most smokers are so blinded by their addiction that they rationalize away the warnings published by the Surgeon General, the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association and the Heart Association.”[37]  This is probably one reason why tens of millions of Americans continue to smoke.  It is probably why most smokers will not seriously read a clear exposé such as you are now reading.  Jesus said, “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:20).  One who is blindly addicted to the “evil” of tobacco generally will not come to the “light” of truth concerning the evil of smoking, lest he become more deeply convicted of the guilt of this sin.

Smoking is clearly dangerous, but just how dangerous?  The American Heart Association charges: “Cigarette smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the United States.  It accounts for about 430,700 of the more than 2 million annual deaths.  Cigarette smokers have a greater risk of developing chronic disorders such as atherosclerosis, several types of cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.”[38]  The American Cancer Society adds: “Smoking is the most preventable cause of death in our society.  During 1995, approximately 2.1 million people in developed countries died as a result of smoking.  Tobacco use is responsible for nearly one in five deaths in the United States.”[39]

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report,” carried an article entitled, “Projected Smoking Related Deaths Among Youth—United States.”  This study estimates that more than five million children and teens under age eighteen will die from smoking-related disease.  “One out of three young people (32 percent) who become regular smokers will die of a smoking-related disease.”[40]  David Satcher, the Surgeon General, comments on his 332-page report on smoking in respect to racial and ethnic groups.  He points out that more young people are smoking and that the smoking rate of black youths has increased 80 percent!  Satcher stated, “Every day 3,000 children become regular smokers and 1,000 of them will die as a result.”[41]   Clearly, the use of tobacco is deadly!

Just how deadly is the use of tobacco?  One way to display this is to compare the number of annual deaths (430,700 persons) due to tobacco use with other forms of death.  Consider the following comparisons:[42]

  • There are 11 times as many tobacco deaths each year than deaths involving firearms (both intentional and accidental).
  • There are 16 times as many tobacco deaths than home accident deaths (falls, poison, fires, burns, etc.).
  • There are 9 times as many tobacco deaths than fatal motor vehicle deaths.
  • There are 14 times as many tobacco deaths than suicides.
  • There are 773 times as many tobacco deaths than worldwide airline fatalities.
  • There are 7 times as many tobacco deaths than all the American deaths during the entire Vietnam War (1964-1973).

Another report says that death due to tobacco use is 20 times that of all other addictive drugs combined.[43]  Although tobacco-related deaths are real, some smokers and dippers choose to ignore these facts.  Consider some of the specific health problems associated with the use of tobacco:

Tobacco and Cancer

We immediately think of lung cancer when we consider smoking.  The American Cancer Society states, “Lung cancer mortality rates are about 23 times higher for current male smokers and 13 times higher for current female smokers compared to lifelong never-smokers.”[44]  From 1960 to 1990, lung cancer deaths among women have increased by more than 400 percent.[45]  In fact, some 85 percent of all lung cancer deaths is attributed to smoking.[46]  Smoking may be particularly dangerous for those of African descent.  The American Health Foundation found that “blacks may be biologically more likely than whites to develop lung cancer from smoking. . . . Black smokers have long been shown to have a 50-percent higher incidence of lung cancer and death from the disease.”[47]


Smoking: What does the Bible say?

Other forms of cancer are also implicated.  “Smoking is also associated with cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esopha-gus, pancreas, uterine cervix, kidney, and bladder.  Smoking accounts for at least 30% of all cancer deaths.”[48]  It appears that smoking is also related to the dreaded leukemia.[49]  The cancer connection is related to some of the thousands of substances found in cigarette smoke, one of the most serious of which is benxopyrene.[50]  Of the 4,700 chemicals in cigarette smoke, some 60 of them are related to the formation of cancer![51]

Tobacco and Heart Disease

The Surgeon General called cigarette smoking “the most important of the known modifiable risk factors for coronary heart disease in the United States.”[52]  Smoking increases the risk of dying from heart disease threefold among men and women who are middle-aged![53]  Some 30 percent of heart disease deaths are related to smoking.[54]  How does smoking lead to heart disease?  The American Heart Association (AHA) explains: “Carbon monoxide may damage the inner walls of the arteries that encourages the buildup of fat on these walls.  Over time, this causes the vessels to narrow and harden.  Nicotine may also contribute to this process.  Smoking also causes several changes in the blood.  They include increased adhesiveness and clustering of platelets in the blood, shortened  platelet  survival,  faster  clotting  time,  and   increased thickness of the blood.  These effects can lead to a heart attack.”[55]  We frequently read and hear of the harmful effects of fat and cholesterol on the deposits in our arteries.  Smoking is also a leading cause of these deposits and the deaths that they cause.  Furthermore, smoking increases the blood pressure, the heart rate, coronary spasms, and blood clots.[56]

Smoking is also implicated in stroke.  It “increases the risk of stroke by 50 percent—40 percent among men and 60 percent among women.”[57]  The causes of this would be similar to that of heart disease.

So-called passive smoke (also known as “secondhand smoke” or “environmental tobacco smoke”) also is implicated in heart disease.  The AHA refers to several studies that “document the health hazards posed by passive smoking.  It’s estimated that from 37,000 to 40,000 people die from heart and blood vessel disease caused by other people’s smoke each year.”[58]  Perhaps the toll is as high as 60,000 cardiovascular deaths due to secondhand smoke.[59]

Tobacco and Respiratory Disease


Smoking: What does the Bible say?

Smoking not only causes lung cancer, but it also is directly related to respiratory disease.  Men who smoke increase their risk of dying from bronchitis and emphysema by almost ten times and women smokers increase their risk of dying by more than ten times.[60]  The Boston University Medical Center observes: “Smoking accounts for about 80-90% of all chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (emphysema, chronic mucus secretion, chronic air flow blocks). . . . A smoker gets more nose and throat inflammations, respiratory infections, and chronic bronchitis.”[61]  The smoker definitely faces a heightened risk of respiratory disease compared with the non-smoker.

Tobacco and the Skin

Tobacco is linked to facial wrinkles, commonly called “smoker’s face.”  Jeffrey B. Smith, senior resident in dermatology at the University of Sough Florida in Tampa points out that smoking damages the skin cells and tissues.  “Smoking causes thickening and fragmentation of elastin, the elastic fibers that are long and smooth in healthy skin.  Smoking also depletes the skin’s oxygen supply by reducing circulation.  It decreases the formation of collagen, the skin’s main structural component, and may reduce the water content of the skin, all of which increase wrinkling.  Smoking also interferes with the skin’s ability to protect itself against damage by free radicals.”[62]  Further, squamous cell carcinoma (cancer) is 50 percent greater for smokers than for nonsmokers.  Melanoma cancer, the more lethal skin cancer, is also linked to smoking.[63]

Although the texture and condition of the skin is partially determined by one’s heredity and exposure to the sun, smoking does have an impact on many skin conditions.  Several of the other skin conditions linked to smoking would be gaunt facial skin, facial skin that appears wasted and gray, and excess facial hair in women (seven times more frequent than in non-smokers).[64]

Tobacco and Carbon Monoxide

The person who smokes increases the carbon monoxide in his blood.  The nonsmoker may have 0-8 ppm of the gas in his blood, but the smoker may have a CO level of 20 ppm and a two-pack-a-day smoker may have a level of 40 ppm.  A high level of this gas is linked to headaches, nausea, mild dysfunction of the central nervous system, vision impairment, and inability to think clearly.[65]  This exposure to carbon monoxide reduces the oxygen level of the blood and this may lead to permanent brain and blood vessel change.[66]

Tobacco and Other Chemicals

Although nicotine is a major factor in smoking since this drug is so addictive, there are many other harmful substances in tobacco smoke.  For instance, the smoke includes formaldehyde, ammonia, and carbon dioxide.  There are harmful metals also in the smoke: aluminum, copper, lead, mercury, and zinc.  Altogether, tobacco smoke contains more than 4,700 chemicals![67]

Tobacco and Children

Children tend to have greater health problems when their parents smoke.  The British Medical Journal reported on a study involving 350,000 births over a two-year period.  They found that “keeping newborns away from tobacco smoke could reduce the death rate from SIDS [sudden infant death syndrome] by nearly two-thirds.”[68]  SIDS is not the only threat to children of smokers.  The British Journal of Cancer found a “highly significant” link between “fathers who smoke and the incidence of a wide range of childhood cancers.”[69]  Part of this childhood cancer may be caused by fathers who damage their sperm by smoking.

Mothers who smoke during pregnancy also expose their unborn children to various health hazards.  Such children tend to have a lower birth weight, a higher infant mortality, and lower intelligence.  Smoking during pregnancy also increases the risk of mental retardation.  The journal Pediatrics reported that “pregnant women who smoke are 50 percent more likely to have mentally retarded children,” and “pregnant women who smoked at least a pack of cigarettes a day were 85 percent more likely to give birth to a retarded child.”[70]

Irma Lawson, of the University of North Texas in Denton, encourages expectant mothers to quit smoking.  She says that a fetal monitor shows what happens to a child when its mother smokes.  Reporting on Lawson’s work, Carolyn Poirot says, “When she first turns on the fetal monitor, the baby’s heartbeat is steady and regular.  Within five minutes of the mother starting to smoke, the fetal heart rate increases by 50 percent or more.  The mother’s blood pressure increases.  Tobacco smoke constricts blood vessels in both mother and fetus, restricting the flow of blood.  In addition, tars, nicotine and other chemical deposits become integrated into the amniotic fluid.”  Poirot continues, “More vaginal bleeding, miscarriages and stillbirths are reported among women who smoke during pregnancy than among those who don’t.”[71]  Any woman who has a mother’s heart should heed the advice not to smoke—before the baby is born and after.

Tobacco and Gradual Mental Decline

A meeting of the American Academy of Neurology reported on research on more than 9,000 people age 65 and older.  Researcher Lenore Launder stated, “Smoking may damage cerebral functioning by silent small strokes that aren’t clinically detected.”[72]   The study revealed that “smokers showed the highest cognitive decline, as measured by tests of memory and other aspects of mental function.”  Other research seems to link smoking to Alzheimer’s and other forms of senility.[73]

Tobacco and Various Conditions

Besides physical disease, per se, smoking has certain other detrimental physical effects.  Notice several of them:[74]

  • Yellow stained teeth and nails
  • Bad and objectionable odor
  • Continual cough
  • Premature menopause (5 years earlier than average)
  • Increased risk of osteoporosis
  • Reduced sperm mobility
  • Effectiveness of many medications is reduced
  • Acceleration of the aging process
  • Snoring and sleep apnea
  • Hoarseness in women (17 times more frequent)
  • Hearing loss

As we consider all of the dangers to health that smoking and other uses of tobacco bring to our lives, we must say that this is a physical danger of great proportions.  There must be no room for compromise in the use of tobacco.

Questions You May Have

A study such as this may cause many questions to arise in your mind.  Although we cannot attempt to answer all of them in this short treatment, let us deal with several of them.

  • “Is it wise to give up smoking and begin using smokeless tobacco?”

Some people are under the mistaken assumption that using smokeless tobacco is safe.  The two forms of this tobacco (chewing tobacco and snuff) depend on nicotine to addict the user.  From 1970 until 1990, the use of snuff by young men grew ten times![75] Smokeless tobacco has many of the same objections that smoking tobacco does.  The health dangers, for example, are substantial.  In 1986 the Federal Trade Commission required the following labels, rotated quarterly, to be placed on packages and advertisements:

  • Warning: This product may cause mouth cancer
  • Warning: This product may cause gum disease and tooth loss
  • Warning: This product is not a safe alternative to cigarettes.[76]

Notice some of smokeless tobacco’s risks: oral cancer (including cancer of the tongue and mouth), dental problems, and cardiovascular risks (higher blood pressure and vascular disease).[77]  One source states: “Women who used snuff are 50 times more likely to contract lung cancer than non-users.”[78]  Isn’t this form of tobacco better than smoking?  “Choosing between cigarettes and smokeless tobacco is like choosing between being run over by a speeding truck or a speeding car,” writes author and physician, W. R. Spence.  “The vehicles are different, but their effect on your health is equally deadly.”

  • “Can’t I switch from smoking cigarettes to smoking a pipe? I think that it looks so cool and it gives me a sense of satisfaction.”

We earlier pointed out that one who loves the world seeks to gratify his flesh and indulges in the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17).  Smoking a pipe definitely is condemned as a work of the flesh.  Besides, pipe smoking provides some of the same dangers as smoking cigarettes.  “People who smoke 5 or more pipes per day were found to be 3 to 5 times more likely to contract lung cancer than nonusers.”[79]  Besides increasing certain kinds of cancer, it raises the level of carbon monoxide in the blood and causes addiction by means of nicotine.  Smoking a pipe is sinful just as smoking cigarettes and cigars.[80]

  • “I smoke cigars. Is this practice really objectionable?” 

Although we have been concentrating on smoking cigarettes, the same principles that condemn that practice may be applied to smoking cigars.  Young males have been taking up the habit of cigar-smoking in increasing numbers.  Cigars definitely are dangerous to the smoker’s health.  The National Cancer Institute director Richard D. Klausner, in a preface to a 232 page report, “Cigars: Health Effects and Trends” (the work of 50 scientists), stated: “Cigar smoking can cause oral, esophageal, laryngeal, and lung cancers.  Regular cigar smokers who inhale, particularly those who smoke several cigars per day, have an increased risk of coronary heart disease and chronic obstructive lung disease [such as emphysema and bronchitis].  Regular cigar smokers have risks of oral and esophageal cancers similar to those of cigarette smokers, but they have lower risks of lung and laryngeal cancer, coronary heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.”[81]  The Christian must not indulge in this fleshly and filthy practice.

The Federal Trade Commission recommended that the following specific warnings be placed on the packages or boxes of cigars:[82]

  • Warning: Regular cigar smoking can cause cancers of the mouth and throat, even if you do not inhale.
  • Warning: Inhaling cigar smoke can cause lung cancer. The more deeply you inhale, the greater your risk.
  • Warning: Cigars are not a safe alternative to cigarettes.

The National Cancer Institute’s report, mentioned above, states that smoking only one or two cigars a day “doubles the risk for oral cancers and esophageal cancer” and “increases the risk of cancer of the larynx by more than six times that of a nonsmoker.”[83]  Those who smoke more than five cigars a day raise “the oral cancer risk to 16 times the level of nonsmokers.”  Moreover, those cigar smokers who inhale deeply “had 27 times the risk of oral cancer, 15 times the risk for esophageal cancer, and 53 times the risk of cancer of the larynx.”[84]  The study reveals that “though cigar smokers inhale less smoke than cigarette smokers, cigars can be just as toxic because they contain up to 90 times as much of some carcinogens.”[85]  These facts clearly reveal that cigar smoking is not an acceptable alternative to cigarette smoking.

  • “Does passive smoke really harm the body?”

Passive smoke, secondhand smoke, or ETS (Environmental Tobacco Smoke) does harm those who are forced to breathe it.  It contains some 4,700 chemicals and 60 known carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals).[86]  The American Heart Association’s Council on Cardiopulmonary and Critical Care found that ETS is a major cause of cardiovascular disease and death.[87]  The American Cancer Society states that “a nonsmoker married to a smoker has a 30% greater risk of developing lung cancer than the spouse of a nonsmoker.”  One source listed a variety of physical effects of breathing  secondhand  smoke: “Lung cancer.  Heart attacks.  Low birth weight infants.  Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).  Bronchitis.  Pneumonia.  Asthma.  Chronic respiratory problems.  Eye and nasal irritation.  Middle ear infections (otitis media).  Secondhand smoke is linked to each of the above.”[88]  It is also linked to pneumonia.[89]   It has been estimated that some 53,000 deaths in the United States may be related to passive smoking.[90]  Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of passive tobacco smoke.”[91]

The same source explains why passive smoke is so dangerous: “Because of how tobacco burns, secondhand smoke contains twice as much tar and nicotine per unit volume as does smoke inhaled from a cigarette.  It contains three times as much of a cancer-causing compound called 3,4 benzpryrene, five times as much carbon monoxide and possibly 50 times as much ammonia.  Secondhand smoke from pipes and cigars is equally harmful if not more so.”[92]  The secondhand smoke also contains such killers as formaldehyde, arsenic, cyanide, radioactive compounds, and benzine.[93]  We can understand why one study of 32,000 nurses discovered that regular exposure to passive smoke increases her risk of a heart attack by 100 percent![94]

Exposure to passive or secondhand smoke causes one’s children to have numerous lung problems (such as allergies, asthma, and chronic bronchitis).  They are hospitalized more frequently for bronchitis and pneumonia during their first year.  The British Journal of Cancer published a report that found a “highly significant” link between “fathers who smoke and the incidence of a wide range of childhood cancers.”[95]

Passive smoke also harms the smoker’s spouse.  Although the smoker may loudly profess a love for his or her partner, smoking contradicts this claim.  The Boston University Medical Center notes, “When a nonsmoker marries a smoker, the risk of getting lung cancer and/or heart disease is doubled!”[96]  A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology provides these findings:[97]

  • Nonsmokers who live with pack-a-day+ smokers are 4 times more likely to suffer heart attacks than people who live with nonsmokers.
  • Nonsmoking husbands of smokers increase their heart attack risk by a whopping 92%.
  • Nonsmoking wives of smoking husbands have an increased risk of 50%. 

These facts mean that the smoker is not only sinning against God and against his own body, but he also is sinning against anyone who is forced to breathe the smoke from his cigarette, cigar, or pipe.

  • “It is true that smoking harms the body and leads to death, but it is not that great in comparison with other causes of death.”

A report of the Tobacco Information and Prevention Source (TIPS) shows the fallacy of this reasoning.  In a report entitled, “Comparative Causes of Annual Deaths in the United States,”[98] we can see how smoking compares with other causes:

AIDS (17,000)

Alcohol (81,000)

Motor Vehicle (41,000)

Homicide (murder) (19,000)

Drug induced (14,000)

Suicide (30,000)

Smoking (430,000)

We must conclude that smoking tobacco is a serious cause of disease and death today.

  • “Is smoking similar to suicide in any way?”

There is an important respect in which using tobacco is suicidal in nature.  Suicide is the intentional taking of one’s life.  Since virtually everyone who smokes (especially in the last century) knows that he is harming his life and contributing to the destruction of his life, it may be said that smoking is suicidal.  We should keep in mind that one out of every five deaths in the United States is related to smoking.  The average smoker dies about seven years earlier than those who do not smoke!

Furthermore, some ten million people have died from causes related to smoking (such as heart disease, emphysema, and similar respiratory diseases) since 1964 when the Surgeon General’s first report on smoking was released.[99]  Therefore, smoking is, in fact, self-murder.  Keep in mind what God says about those who murder: “No murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15b).  This makes smoking and other injurious practices very serious.

  • “Doesn’t the Bible say that God will destroy the one who smokes?”

Frequently people quote Paul’s words to make this claim: “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?  If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are” (1 Cor. 3:16-17).  These people point out that our body is a temple of God and if we destroy that body through the use of tobacco, God will destroy us.  Actually, Paul, in this passage, has reference to the community of Christians (the body of Christ) rather than the individual physical body of each Christian.  Paul says that “you” (plural) are a temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in “you” (plural) (v. 16).  God dwells in the corporate body of believers.  If one destroys the community of believers through sinful attitudes, actions, or teachings, God will destroy him.

While it may be true that God will destroy those who sin (by destroying their physical body with tobacco, alcohol, drugs, and gluttony), this might better be proved by a reference to 1 Cor. 6:19-20 where the individual Christian’s physical body is in view rather than 1 Cor. 3:16-17 where the community of believers is discussed.

  • “What bearing does smoking have on young people?”

Besides the many spiritual and moral problems associated with smoking, the young person who smokes faces a number of serious physical problems.  The first is that once a person has become settled in tobacco addiction, he is likely to continue in bondage to this habit throughout is life.  Second, there are immediate consequences to smoking.  Smoking hurts a young person’s physical performance and endurance.  It stunts the person’s lung growth and level of lung function.  There is an increased frequency of respiratory illnesses.  Smoking increases the smoker’s resting heart rate.  Smoking is also associated with depression.  In general, there is a lowering of overall health in the youthful smoker.[100]

  • If it is wrong to use tobacco, what are some of the consequences and implications of this fact?

Obviously, if it is sinful to use tobacco in its various forms, you must renounce all use of it yourself.  Assuming that you are a Christian and not a smoker yourself, what should you do in light of the sinfulness of smoking?  The following points should be kept in mind:

  • Use your influence to share what you now know about using You should seek to show your family members the sinfulness of smoking and try to persuade them to renounce all forms of tobacco.  Your love must be active in trying to help those who are closest to you and those with whom you might have some influence (cf. Mark 5:18-20; Eph. 5:25; 6:4).
  • Be vigilant lest your brothers and sisters in the family of God fall into this sin. If you do discover that one of them has succumbed to the temptation of tobacco, seek to reach him or her for the Lord: “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.  Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:1-2).
  • Be on guard that you do not participate in a smoker’s sin. You are not to “share responsibility for the sins of others”—such as smoking—but must “keep yourself free from sin” (1 Tim. 5:22).  For example, refuse to buy cigarettes for a family member or a friend.  Refuse to loan money to another person for him to purchase tobacco products.  Do not permit people to smoke in your dwelling place.  Be careful that you do not stock, sell or advertise tobacco products at work (this may affect one’s employment).
  • Seek to be consistent in avoiding other compromising practices in life. For example, if you have renounced tobacco, you should also refuse to take drugs.  You should stay far away from the wrongful influence of alcohol.  You should not be addicted to other substances.  You should not fall into gluttony or become a slave of junk foods and other non-nutritious foods.  Paul says it well: “Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things.  They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. . . .I beat my body and make it may slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:25,27).

How Can You Give Up Tobacco?

Some readers may wonder how they possibly can give up smoking.  They may say that they have smoked too long to quit and it is just too hard to give up the habit.  It is true that smoking is very addictive and difficult to overcome.  However, we must also point out that millions of people have given up smoking and presently live a life of abstinence.[101]  While it may not be easy, it can be done!


Smoking: What does the Bible say?

We must notice an important principle at this point.  Has God spoken about smoking?  We have already noticed that, although He has not specifically mentioned tobacco in the Scriptures, He definitely has given us many principles that show that smoking is sinful and displeasing to Him.  If God holds us accountable for our sin (and He does), and He has commanded that we not sin (and He has), He has given us the ability to overcome the practice of smoking!  We must also remember that millions and millions of people have already overcome smoking—and the vast majority of them were unsaved people!  They did not even have the Holy Sprit dwelling in them to help them (Acts 5:32)—but they were still able to overcome this fleshly habit.  Therefore, it can be done and no one will be able to plead that he was helpless in obeying God in this matter.  We are responsible to obey God even when that obedience requires a great amount of personal sacrifice.

The greatest motivation for renouncing the use of tobacco is to please God and obey His Word.  Earlier we gave sixteen reasons why smoking is sinful and each of these can provide deep motivation for repenting of the use of tobacco and determining to live free from the habit.  But there are even physical or health reasons for quitting your habit of smoking.  The Surgeon General’s Report includes these points:[102]

  • After one year off cigarettes, the excess risk of heart disease caused by smoking is reduced by half. After 15 years of abstinence, the risk is similar to that of persons who have never smoked. 
  • In five to 15 years, the risk of stroke for ex-smokers returns to the level of those who have never smoked. 
  • Male smokers who quit between ages 35 to 39 add an average of five years to their lives. Female quitters in this age group add three years.

More recent findings do suggest that even past smokers and persons exposed to secondhand smoke in the past may continue to have an increased risk of atherosclerosis and stroke[103] and may continue to experience some lung damage, if the person smoked into his middle-age period.[104]    but we can at least say that stopping the use of tobacco will greatly contribute to increased health.


Smoking: What does the Bible say?

With these facts before us, let us discuss how you can actually become free from tobacco.  We must remember that the use of tobacco (in its various forms) is not simply a physical problem.  It is not merely a moral or social problem.  It is basically a spiritual problem.  We have discussed at length that smoking is sinful, therefore God wants the spiritual element to be addressed as well as the physical and moral elements.  The following points should be of help.[105]

  • Repent and seek the forgiveness of God.

Whoever you are, you must realize that the Lord Jesus Christ is the answer to your sin of smoking and every other sin.  God so loved the world that He gave His dear Son for our salvation from sin, death, and hell (John 3:16; 1 Tim. 1:15; 1 John 4:9-10).  Jesus suffered death on the cross and bore your sins so that you might be forgiven (1 Peter 2:24; 3:18).  He rose again the third day, proving that he was indeed the Son of God and the Lord of glory (1 Cor. 15:3-4).  Realize that Jesus died for you and He died for your sins!

If you have smoked a pack of sins each day, for a year, this would be 7,300 cigarettes in a year!  If you have smoked for ten years, this would be 73,000 cigarettes; if you have smoked for thirty years, this would be 219,000 cigarettes!  You must realize that Jesus died for those 219,000 sins when he hung on the cross of Calvary.  You must realize that when the Lord died, He didn’t just die for the other person.  No, He died for you and He died for your sins—including your sins of smoking.  You need not bear those sins yourself—Jesus carried those sins for you.  This is the good news that Jesus came to bring and the apostles proclaimed.


Smoking: What does the Bible say?

If you were truly saved in the past and became a genuine Christian but have since fallen into the sin of smoking (and perhaps other sins), you need to repent of it and seek God’s forgiveness.  Peter commands, “Repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you” (Acts 8:22).  Scripture promises: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).  God will cleanse you of the sin of smoking or indulging in other forms of tobacco if you are sincere in your repentance.

If you have never come to Christ for salvation from sin, smoking is only one of many sins you need to forsake.  In brief, you need to place your faith in God and trust in the death of Christ Jesus who offered Himself for your salvation (John 3:16; Romans 5:6-11).  You need to repent of smoking and every other sin of which you are guilty.  Peter commanded, “Repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away. . . . God raised up His Servant [Jesus] and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways” (Acts 3:19a, 26).  You need to express your repentance of sins and faith in Christ by being baptized into Him: “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).  With the Holy Spirit of God dwelling in you (Acts 5:32; 1 Cor. 6:19-20), you will have the power to overcome smoking and every other sin in life (Romans 8:13; Eph. 3:16).[106]

  • Renounce the use of tobacco immediately.

If smoking is sinful, God does not want you to continue smoking any longer.  Is it ever right to tell God that you will stop sinning in some way a year from now—or even a month from now?  No, if you are doing something sinful, God plainly says: “Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning (1 Cor. 15:34).  We must not make excuses or find reasons to continue this filthy, shameful, immoral, and sinful habit.  We must stop smoking.

Walter Kloss adds this: “For the majority of smokers, cold turkey offers the best way to stop because of the physical discomfort associated with depriving the body of nicotine.  Fortunately, however, the body eliminates nicotine usually within one to three days.  Quitting abruptly allows the body to rapidly readjust to functioning without nicotine, shortens the physical withdrawal period, and consequently reduces the period of discomfort.”[107]

  • Seek the help of God to live tobacco-free.

The Holy Spirit will enable you to live without tobacco.  “If you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13).  God does not require you to do something that He does not enable you to do with His power.  Paul said, “I can do all things through Him who strengths me” (Phil. 4:13).  Further, if God loves you so much that He gave His dear Son to die for you (Romans 5:8), you should love Him with all of your heart (1 John 4:19), a love that will obey Him in whatever he commands you (John 14:15, 21-24; 1 John 5:2-3).  The more you love Jesus, the more you will be motivated to obey Him and remain free from smoking and every other sin.  The love of Jesus will constrain and motivate you to live for Him and renounce sin (cf. 2 Cor. 5:14-15).

You should also realize that other believers who are walking in holiness (2 Tim. 2:22) can help you and encourage you to live in victory over sin (Hebrews 3:13).  Make sure that you have close and regular fellowship with sincere and devoted disciples of Jesus if you expect to remain free from tobacco addiction (Heb. 10:24-25).

Seek to be disciplined in all aspects of your life.  God does not just want you to be free from tobacco, but He also wants you to be disciplined in your use of time (Eph. 5:15-16), self-controlled in your speech (Eph. 4:29), pure from lustful sexual activities (Matt. 5:27-31), careful in what you read and see (1 John 2:15-17), and disciplined in all other areas of your life.  Paul says, “Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness” (1 Tim. 4:7-8).  In other words, God doesn’t just want you to overcome tobacco-addiction; He also wants your whole life to reflect the fact that you are living for Jesus and the things above (Col. 3:1-4).

If you are a believer, prayer will be one of the most important aspects of your life in overcoming tobacco and remaining tobacco-free.  Prayer is communication with God your Father (Eph. 3:14ff), through Jesus Christ (5:20), in the Holy Spirit (6:18).    Paul writes, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).

  • Realize that you will soon get over the intense craving for tobacco.

Although nicotine is very addictive, God gives the human body the ability to overcome this addiction.  Smoking is a choice, thus you need not succumb to the temptation.  “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13).

The withdrawal syndrome will last about a week and there will be physical manifestations you must deal with.  But after a week, the initial cravings will subside and you will be more comfortable as an abstainer.[108]  However, there may be lingering emotional battles you must face for up to eight weeks.[109]   Certain emotional responses may come: “These may be manifest in some persons as an increased nervous excitability, such as restlessness, insomnia, anxiety, tremor, palpitation, and in others by diminished excitability, such as drowsiness, amnesia, impaired concentration and judgment, and diminished pulse.”[110]  However, some smokers have renounced the habit with very little discomfort.[111]  Many of the physical and emotional responses may not be present since your focus will be on the will of God and you will be exhilarated by your clear conscience before Him.  It will especially help for you to realize that you are pleasing God in what you have done.

  • Follow certain practical pointers to overcome tobacco-addiction.

Although your spiritual focus on God must take precedence, there are several practical points you might keep in mind during the first week or two after you renounce tobacco.  Consider the following:

  • Get rid of all the tobacco you have. Paul writes, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (Romans 13:14).  If you do not have ready access to tobacco products, you will not as likely succumb to the sin again.
  • If possible, it would be good to take a vacation in a country setting. This will remove you from your normal routine and regular surroundings.  If you are not around people who smoke, if you can engage in strenuous physical activity, if you can breathe clean air—all of this will help you to overcome the tobacco cycle.
  • Review all of the reasons why you want to quit smoking. The sixteen points we listed earlier in this booklet may be reviewed each day.  Or you may write out as many reasons for quitting as you can remember.  One writer suggests, “Every night before going to bed, repeat one of the reasons 10 times.”[112]
  • Drink plenty of water. “The more liquids you can down, the quicker the nicotine leaches out of your body,” writes McFarland.  “Since nicotine passes from the system through the liver and kidneys, six to eight glasses of water plus fruit juices . . . each day during Q Week will flush nicotine quickly from the body and thus shorten the trauma of physical withdrawal.”[113]  Others suggest drinking ten to twelve glasses of water during this time.  Another writer suggests that you avoid alcohol, coffee, sodas, and anything else that you associate with smoking. 
  • Establish a regularity in your schedule. Get plenty of good, sound, restful sleep and have regular times for your meals.  Don’t sit around after the meals (when people normally light up and smoke).  The connection between meals and smoking must be broken.  “Instead of smoking after meals, get up from the table and brush your teeth or go for a walk.”[114]
  • Begin an exercise program. If you do not live in the country where much physical activity is regularly required, you can do something as simple as begin walking in the park or in the neighborhood.  DeWitt Fox explains, “Let the fresh air flush through your lungs, ridding them of smoke.  Fresh oxygen in your body will make you feel sharp, without cigarettes.  Vigorous exercise is the best way to improve circulation and make yourself feel better without smoking.”[115]  Keigley adds, “This is one of the best ways to relieve the tensions that beset the quitter. . . . Exercise also helps to recondition the smoke-damaged cardio-vascular system; easier breathing is an immediate benefit.”[116]  One writer suggests taking two 30-minute walks every day.
  • Avoid other smokers and watch your environment. This is good advice, especially for the first several weeks.  “The smell of smoke may create a desire for a cigarette, and social pressure is always greater among friends who smoke.”[117]  Try staying away from all areas where cigarette smoke lies heavy in the air.  “Develop a clean, fresh non-smoking environment around yourself—at work and at home.”[118]  It may help to clean your carpets and drapes, clean your clothes, and—in some cases—even paint the interior of your house.  At work, seek to keep away from smoking areas.

These are some of the activities that should help as you begin living without tobacco.  Although you may think that you will constantly battle the temptation to smoke (and this may be true to some extent), the battle will be much less intense.  “After a few weeks the body is back to normal, however, and is no longer physically dependent upon the effects of nicotine.  The return of a normal sense of taste and smell is a pleasure.  The improvement in one’s skin and general appearance is also a pleasure.  The sense of becoming healthier, looking better, smelling nicer, and the pure joy of being able to smell and taste food are all compensation for the occasional urge to smoke.”[119]

As time continues to pass, the ex-smoker will experience further positive results, depending upon the length of time of his addiction.  “The positive effects begin to show.  There is an overall sense of greater fitness and health.  The shortness of breath disappears, the coughing in the morning is gone, and the aging process that was accelerated by smoking, the ‘smoker’s face,’ regresses to various extents depending on the age of the ex-smoker and the number of years of smoking.  There is a new feeling of health and beauty that had been drowned in a cloud of smoke for many years.”[120]

Besides the health benefits of renouncing tobacco, the spiritual remains the chief consideration.  If God says that smoking is sinful, we must renounce it.  If God says that we are to be pure and holy, then we must turn from everything that is impure and unholy.  If God says that we are to be a good example to others, then we will turn from everything that is a poor example and exerts a sinful influence upon others.  If God says that we are to use our money and time to glorify Him, then we must turn from smoking and other practices that waste vast amounts of money and time.

Choose to Escape from Tobacco-Bondage Today! 

I challenge you to take the words of this booklet to heart and search the Scriptures to prove to yourself that smoking displeases the God who created you and sustains you (Acts 17:11, 24-25).  Choose today to renounce the filthy, foolish, and fleshly habit of smoking—and to henceforth “glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:20).  Determine now to turn from the use of tobacco and begin to live with a clear conscience in the joy and fear of the Lord!

If you are not a true child of God, write for information on how you can know His love in Christ Jesus and be free from all of your sins.  Although you can overcome the external habit of smoking if you are unsaved, do you really want to be bound to the other sins in your life—lying, profanity, lust, greed, carnality, drunkenness, and everything else that binds you and causes you to be guilty before a holy God?  What use is it to escape from the trap of smoking and still face an eternity of anguish, alienated from a loving God?  Your Creator wants you to not only escape from the sin of using tobacco, but to also be freed from all of your sins through the Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus declared, “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. . . . Everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. . . . If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:32, 34, 36). 

Questions for Discussion

  • Why doesn’t the Bible mention smoking or tobacco?
  • What bearing does the example of Jesus have on smoking?
  • Think of three evidences that smoking reveals a lack of love.
  • List five ways that smoking is harmful toward one’s family.
  • Why would others consider a professing Christian who smokes as a hypocrite?
  • Have you known of any pastor or preacher who smokes? Give three reasons why Jesus would call this hypocrisy.
  • List ten health problems related to the use of tobacco.
  • Why is smoking cigars or a pipe or using smokeless tobacco also objectionable?
  • In what way can smoking be considered suicidal?
  • What Biblical principles that show smoking to be wrong may be applied to other life-dominating sins?
  • Why must one repent of using tobacco?
  • List seven practical steps you can do to overcome tobacco addiction.
  • If you are a former smoker, what can you do to help others who seek to be free of tobacco?


[1] The World Almanac: 1997, p. 974.  The figures are for 1992.

[2] American Cancer Society, “2000 Facts and Figures.”

[3] Unless otherwise noted, scripture is traken from the New American Standard Bible, copyright ú 1994 by The Lockman Foundation.

[4] A series of forty (40) principles are listed with scriptures in our booklet, Making Responsible Decisions.  These principles may be applied to any activity and relationship in life.  Most of the questions in the first portion of the present booklet are derived from this study.  Write for a free copy.

[5] Our booklet, What Would Jesus Do?, examines this question much more thoroughly.

[6] We should ask whether all of our expenditures for everything are wise and faithful.

[7] This figure simply is chosen for the sake of illustration.

[8] We shall calculate this at 10 percent interest.  It has been this high in the past and it could be this high in the future.

[9] These figures were calculated by the local Bank of America for me on April 19, 2000.  The pages of calculation that were given to me are available to anyone requesting them.  See also our booklet, Smoking: The Amazing Financial Factor!

[10] ASC, “2000 Facts and Figures.”

[11] An excellent book that impressed me with the importance of using time for God’s glory is entitled The Use of Time by Zacharias Tanee Fomum (published by Christian Publishing House, P.O. Box 7100, Yaounde, Cameroon [Africa]).

[12] William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament.  W.E. Vine, in his Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, quotes Hogg and Vine: “The N.T. skandalon is always used metaphorically, and ordinarily of anything that arouses prejudice, or becomes a hindrance to others, or causes them to fall by the way.  Sometimes the hindrance is in itself good, and those stumbled by it are wicked.”

[13] Quoted by ACS in “2000 Facts and Figures.”

[14] Ibid., citing the figures from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

[15] Quoted by the American Heart Association, Nicotine Addiction.  The nicotine activates the dopamine neuron, the pleasure center of the midbrain, and “branches out through the emotion-associated (limbic) region and into the cortex, the seat of conscious learning” (Michael Segell, “Hooked: Creatures of Habit,” 1999, MSNBC).

[16] “Nicotine is Like Cocaine, Report Says,” The Dallas Morning News, 9 December 1995, A-11.

[17] Ibid.

[18] The more conservative and Biblically-oriented churches either teach against smoking or actually prohibit smoking among the members.

[19] “Facts on Youth Smoking, Health, and Performance” (Tobacco Information and Prevention Source).

[20] See “History of Tobacco” (Boston University Medical Center) and “Tobacco Timeline” by Gene Borio (  Note also Robert K. Keimann, Tobacco and Americans (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1960); Susan Wagner, Cigarette Country (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1971); W. Koskowski, The Habit of Smoking (London: Stapes Press, Ltd., 1955); Joseph C. Robert, The Story of Tobacco in America (New York: Alfred Knoff, 1952).  Encyclopedia articles are probably one of the better concise sources.

[21] This is documented in a section of our book, Smoking: Is it a Sin?, entitled “A Short History of Tobacco Use and Its Condemnation” (pp. 65-71).

[22] Jack E. Henningfield, Nicotine: An Old-Fashioned Addiction (New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1985), pp. 25-26.

[23] Koskowski, p. 84.

[24] “History of Tobacco” (Boston University Medical Center).

[25] Quoted by Susan Wager, Cigarette Country (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1971), pp. 67-68.

[26] Koskowski, p. 90.

[27] Harold S. Diehl, Tobacco and Your Health (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1969), pp. 16-17.

[28] Gene Borino, “Tobacco Timeline.”

[29] Ibid.

[30] Grolier Encyclopedia: 1997, sv. “Smoking.”

[31] Encarta Encyclopedia: 1997, sv. “Smoking.”

[32] Recent evidence has shown that for many decades tobacco companies have known of the dangers associated with smoking but their studies were kept secret.

[33] Encarta Encyclopedia: 1997, sv. “Smoking.”

[34] Ibid.

[35] “History of Tobacco” (Boston University Medical Center).

[36] Encarta Encyclopedia: 1997, sv. “Smoking.”

[37] Dolly D. Gahagan, Switch Down and Quit (Berkeley: Ten speed Press, 1987), p. V.

[38] Cigarette Smoking and Cardiovascular Diseases (American Heart Association, henceforth “AHA”).

[39] ACS, “2000 Facts and Figures.”

[40] “Great American Smokeout” (Tobacco Information and Prevention Source), reporting on the “Great American Smokeout” of November 21, 1996.

[41] “Minority Smoking on Rise,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 28 April 1998, A-1.  Other findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association in July of 1998 are reported by Brenda C. Coleman: “Blacks appear to absorb more nicotine per cigarette than smokers of other races, a finding that could explain why they run a higher risk of lung cancer and have more trouble kicking the habit” (“Blacks Absorb More Nicotine, Study Says,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 8 July 1998, A-2.

[42] The information is taken from The World Almanac: 1997.  The following statistics are used for the calculations: Firearm deaths for 1993 (p. 967); home accident deaths for 1995 (p. 968); motor vehicle deaths for 1995 (p. 967); suicides for 1995 (p. 964); worldwide airline fatalities for 1995 (p. 968); Vietnam War deaths (p. 184).

[43] Encarta Encyclopedia: 1997, sv. “Smoking.”

[44] Ibid., citing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Reducing the Health Consequences of Smoking: 25 Years of Progress.  A Report of the Surgeon General.

[45] “Cigarette Smoking-Related Mortality” (Tobacco Information and Prevention Source).

[46] “Harmful Effects of Smoking” (Boston University Medical Center).

[47] “Black Smokers Studied in Lung Cancer Research,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 11 April 1994, A-8.

[48] “Great American Smokeout”; see also Charles B. Clayman, Fighting Cancer (Pleasantville, NY: The Reader’s Digest Association, 1991), pp. 44-47.

[49] “Harmful Effects of Smoking” (Boston University Medical Center).

[50] Charles B. Clayman, Fighting Cancer, p. 46.

[51] Compton’s Encyclopedia: 1999, sv. “Smoking”; Grolier Encyclopedia: 1997, sv. “Smoking.”

[52] Cigarette Smoking and Cardiovascular Diseases, (AHA).

[53] “Cigarette Smoking-Related Mortality” (Tobacco Information and Prevention Source).

[54] “Harmful Effects of Smoking” (Boston University Medical Center).

[55] Nicotine Addiction, (AHA).

[56] “Harmful Effects of Smoking” (Boston University Medical Center).

[57] Encarta Encyclopedia: 199, sv. “Smoking.

[58] Cigarette Smoking and Cardiovascular Diseases, (AHA).

[59] “Firsthand Hazards,” U.S. News & World Report, 26 January 1998, p. 41.  This note also stated that the Journal of the American Medical Association said “that compared with those who have never smoked, artery injury was 50 percent higher among smokers, 25 percent more for ex-puffers, and 20 percent worse for secondhand inhalers.

[60] “Cigarette Smoking-Related Mortality” (Tobacco Information and Prevention Source).

[61] “Harmful Effects of Smoking.”

[62] Jane Brody, “Facing Up to Smoking,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 9 July 1996, E-3.

[63] Ibid.

[64] See the list of the American Academy of Dermatology, in “When The Smoke Clears,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 19 November 1996, E-3.

[65] Carbon Monoxide and Smoking (Mayo Clinic).

[66] “Harmful Effects of Smoking.”

[67] Grolier Encyclopedia: 1997, sv. “Smoking,” mentions 4,700 chemical compounds, whereas other sources mention only about 4,000, e.g., “What’s in that Butt?” (Boston University Medical Center).

[68] “Smoke Cited in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 26 July 1996, A-4.

[69] “Another Study Links Cancer in Children to Smoking Dads,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 17 December 1996, A-16.

[70] “Retarded Children More Likely for Pregnant Smokers, Study Says,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 10 April 1996, A-6.

[71] Carolyn Poirot, “What One Cigarette Does to a Fetus,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 6 January 1998.

[72] “Mental Function and Smoking,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 9 June 1998.

[73] “New Study Links Smoking to Gradual Mental Decline,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 2 May 1998, A-13.

[74] “Top 10 Reasons to Quit Smoking” and “Harmful Effects of Smoking”  (Boston University Medical Center); “Smoking May Lead to Hearing Loss, Report Says,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 3 June 1998.  This latter notice was on a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  The notice stated, “Current smokers were about 70 percent more likely to have hearing loss than nonsmokers in a study of 3,753 adults ages 48 to 92 years old.  In addition, nonsmokers who lived with a smoker were 92 percent more likely to have a hearing loss than those not exposed to secondhand smoke.”

[75] “Smokeless Tobacco,” Mayo Clinic (Health Oasis), Dec. 13, 1995.

[76] Smokeless Tobacco, (AHA).

[77] “Smokeless Tobacco,” Mayo Clinic (Health Oasis), Dec. 13, 1995.

[78] “Some Statistics on Tobacco Products other than Cigarettes” (Boston University Medical Center).

[79] Ibid.

[80] “Ask the Mayo Physician” (Mayo Clinic), May 12, 1997.

[81] “Ask the Mayo Physician” (Mayo Clinic), Sept. 4, 1998.

[82] “Health Warnings Urged for Cigars” (MSBC).

[83] “Cigars: Health Effects and Trends,” National Cancer Institute, 10 April 1998.  See also, “Are Cigars Safe?,” Time, 21 June 1999, p. 83.

[84] Ibid.

[85] “Health Warnings Urged for Cigars” (MSBC).

[86] Grolier Encyclopedia: 1997, sv. “Smoking”; Compton’s Encyclopedia:  1999, sv. “Smoking”; Environmental Tobacco Smoke (AHA).

[87] Ibid.

[88] An estimated 3,000 adults die of lung cancer through exposure to secondhand smoke (“Cigarette Smoking-Related Mortality”).

[89] Encarta Encyclopedia: 1997, sv. “Smoking.”

[90] “Harmful Effects of Smoking” (Boston University Medical Center), Grolier Encyclopedia: 1997, sv. “Smoking.”

[91] Secondhand Smoke (Mayo Clinic), Aug. 11, 1997.

[92] Ibid.

[93] Grolier Encyclopedia: 1997, sv. “Smoking.”

[94] Ibid.

[95] “Another Study Links Cancer in Children to Smoking Dads,” A-16.

[96] “Harmful Effects of Smoking.”

[97] Reported in Energy Times, May 1998, p. 14.

[98] Tobacco Information and Prevention Source.

[99] “Cigarette Smoking-Related Mortality” (Tobacco Information and Prevention Source).

[100] “Facts on Youth Smoking, Health, and Performance” (Tobacco Information and Prevention Source).

[101] “Since 1965, more than 40 percent of all adults who have ever smoked have quit. . . . More than four in five smokers say they want to quit.  Each year about 1.3 million smokers quit successfully” (“Smoking Cessation,” AHA).

[102] Smoking Cessation (AHA).

[103] “Smoking Damage May be Irreversible, Study Says,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 14 January 1998.  The Surgeon General’s earlier report was made in 1990.

[104] Compton’s Encyclopedia: 1999, sv. “Smoking.”

[105] This is discussed to a much greater extent in our book, Smoking: Is it a Sin? (pp. 25-40).

[106] You may request two booklets that explain this more fully: Shipwreck to Salvation! and Can I Be Sure of Going to Heaven?

[107] Walter Kloss, You Can Kick the Habit! (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Assoc., 1976), pp. 28-29.

[108] “Nicotine’s Effects on Your Body” (Boston University Medical Center).

[109] “Craving for tobacco—a quitter’s most frequent and severe withdrawal symptom—usually reaches its peak within the first 24 hours and tapers down over a seven-day period.  Then it begins to rise again and persists for up to eight weeks in most smokers” (Walter S. Ross, “What Happens When a Smoker Stops?” Reader’s Digest, October 1982, p. 137).

[110] George C. Thosteson, Tips on How to Stop Smoking (Dundee, IL: George Thosteson, 1969), p. 5.

[111] “Know that most relapses occur in the first week after quitting, when withdrawal symptoms are strongest and your body is still dependent on nicotine.  Be aware that this will be your hardest time, and use all your personal resources . . . to get you through this critical period successfully.  Know that most other relapses occur in the first 3 months after quitting, with situational triggers—such as a particularly stressful event—occur unexpectedly. . . . Remember that smoking is a habit, but a habit you can break” (“How to Quit Smoking . . . And Quit for Keeps,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).

[112] Ibid.

[113] J. Wayne McFarland, How to Stop Smoking (Washington, D.C.: Narcotics Education, Inc.), p. 32.

[114] “How to Quit Smoking . . . And Quit for Keeps.”

[115] Why Not Smoke? (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Assoc., 1984), p. 62.

[116] Peggy Keigley, Quit and Win: The War of Cigarette Withdrawal Once and for All (Schenectady, NY: PBK Publications, 1987),  p. 62.

[117] Fox, Why Not Smoke?, p. 61.

[118] Cleaning the Air (Bethesda: MD: National Cancer Institute, n.d.), p. 18.

[119] John W. Farquhar and Gene A. Spiller, The Last Puff (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1990), pp. 36-37.

[120] Ibid., p. 37. 


May We Help You?

Smoking is only one of the popular sins of our age.  God is calling for His people to live faithful, obedient, and holy lives in the midst of a “crooked and perverse” world that is under His judgment.  Jesus calls you to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Him as a true disciple (Mark 8:34) as you live fully for Him in the joy and peace of His fellowship (Col. 3:1-4; Romans 15:13).

Check out many other articles on this website for your own instruction, edification, and motivation to live a clean and righteous life. The Holy Spirit will help you!





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