I like to tell people I started smoking before kindergarten and quit when I was in the seventh grade. Looking at two news items this week tells me I made the right decision.
First, I see that the American drug store chain CVS announced they were pulling off their shelves all tobacco products. No more snuff, cigarettes or cigars. CVS’s decision is not altogether self-sacrificing or altruistic. While they will initially lose billions in sales, they expect to more than recoup this in the long term by becoming a major player in health care delivery for the aging population and ever-growing insurance industry. CVS is positioning itself for the future. They will make more money focusing on health care than on retail sales of tobacco and other products.
More people are quitting smoking. Cigarettes are very expensive, over $5 per pack most everywhere. Restaurants and public places have banned smokers. One of the most pathetic scenes imaginable is a smoker standing outside their place of work in the freezing cold puffing away on a cigarette. Even more tragic a fact is those who kick the habit are too late. Damage has been done to the body and in time it comes out and kills them.
The second news item this week was the revelation that Dr. Spock, aka Leonard Nimoy, suffers from lung disease caused by years of smoking. Even though Nimoy quit more than thirty years ago the damage was done and it is now slowing killing him. His Twitter Tweet says it all:
Smokers, please understand. If you quit after you're diagnosed with lung damage it's too late. Grandpa says learn my lesson. Quit now.— Leonard Nimoy (@TheRealNimoy) February 6, 2014
I am sorry for Nimoy and any other person whose health has been wrecked by this nasty habit. CVS’s decision does not make them my favorite store over any other retailer who continues to sell tobacco. But I am sure glad I decided to quit smoking by the time I was twelve years old.
Why did I quite smoking when I was twelve? Someone taught me what the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:19, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” This verse put a bit of the fear of God into me and led me to throw away the cigarettes.
Paul’s teaching is a living spiritual principle that reaches into many of the personal choices we make with our behavior. God’s word is never out of date. It is always ahead of its time. The sooner we learn this lesson the better our lives can be.