Is smoking cigarettes considered a sin?

Hello R,

Thank for contacting BibleAsk.

Cigarette smoking has been identified as the most important source of preventable morbidity (disease and illness) and premature mortality (death) worldwide. Smoking-related diseases claim an estimated 443,000 American lives each year, including those affected indirectly, such as babies born prematurely due to prenatal maternal smoking and victims of “secondhand” exposure to tobacco’s carcinogens. Here are some health hazards of smoking:

-Cigarette smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer. Smoking is directly responsible for approximately 90 percent of lung cancer deaths and approximately 80-90 percent of COPD (emphysema and chronic bronchitis) deaths.

-About 8.6 million people in the U.S. have at least one serious illness caused by smoking. That means that for every person who dies of a smoking-related disease, there are 20 more people who suffer from at least one serious illness associated with smoking.

-Among current smokers, chronic lung disease accounts for 73 percent of smoking-related conditions. Even among smokers who have quit chronic lung disease accounts for 50 percent of smoking-related conditions.

-The list of diseases caused by smoking includes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema), coronary heart disease, stroke, abdominal aortic aneurysm, acute myeloid leukemia, cataract, pneumonia, periodontitis, and bladder, esophageal, laryngeal, lung, oral, throat, cervical, kidney, stomach, and pancreatic cancers. Smoking is also a major factor in a variety of other conditions and disorders, including slowed healing of wounds, infertility, and peptic ulcer disease.

-Smokers die significantly earlier than nonsmokers: 13.2 years for men and 14.5 years for women.

While the Bible does’t mention smoking, we are admonished to care for our bodies. And the Lord in 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20, tell us “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Can smoking be for the glory of God?

No one has a right to treat his body as he pleases. It is to be the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, a temple wherein God Himself will live and reign from the human heart. God says that anyone who deliberately defiles or destroys the body temple will be destroyed in turn himself.

Suicide, of course, has always been looked upon as a sin. And smoking is simply slow suicide on the installment plan. With all the clear scientific evidence now available that cigarettes actually do shorten the life, it becomes a sin for people to contaminate their body and actually shorten their life.

Paul says, “Everything is permissible for me—but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me—but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12). Smoking is certainly very addictive thus harmful to health. Smoking is a sin that should be forsaken and, with God’s help, overcome ” I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). God is more than able to deliver us from all sin.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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