Is smoking sin?

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Is smoking sin?

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The Bible does not speak specifically of smoking, which is a relatively modern practice. However, it does cover the subject in principle. One of the main scriptures that addresses the heart of the matter is 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body" (New Revised Standard Version).

God created us, and Jesus Christ paid the price for our sin through the sacrifice of His life. For both reasons, we belong to God, and we must not abuse God's property—our bodies. Today there is an abundance of scientific confirmation of the fact that smoking seriously damages one's health.

If one smokes only occasionally, the amount of nicotine and tar may be relatively small, but why should we deliberately put any of these toxic chemicals into our bodies? Every time a smoker inhales, some internal damage is occurring. Even if you don't inhale, the body absorbs toxic chemicals through the mucous membranes of the mouth and nose.

An additional scriptural principle involved with the smoking question is "you shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39; Leviticus 19:18). Science clearly documents the damaging effect of secondhand smoke, as well as the monumental cost of smoking-related health problems. So, out of loving concern for others, a Christian should choose not to smoke. These principles show us that it is indeed a sin to smoke.

For many, it is not simply a matter of deciding to quit, but rather a difficult struggle with a physical addiction. This is yet another reason why smoking is a sin. It results in addiction, resulting in the smoker becoming a slave to an unhealthy habit. Notice what Paul says about this in 1 Corinthians 6:12, "You may say, 'I am allowed to do anything.' But I reply, 'Not everything is good for you.' And even though 'I am allowed to do anything,' I must not become a slave to anything" (New Living Translation).

Making a personal commitment is necessary to break the habit of smoking, as is praying regularly for God's help. It may also be necessary to seek advice and/or treatment from those trained in dealing with nicotine addiction.

For more insight, please read our booklet Making Life Work.