Is Smoking A Sin?

faith
August 24, 2016Aug 24, 2016

The Bible doesn't mention smoking, so it's difficult to condemn it categorically. What are the biblical principles that give us insight here?

Smoking was once advertised as a healthful and beneficial practice. The great preacher and theologian Charles Spurgeon and the apologist and writer C.S Lewis were known tobacco smokers. They did so socially and habitually used the headrush of the nicotine to help them work. It's clear today that tobacco products are harmful and full of carcinogens. Even isolated nicotine delivered through vaping is a vasoconstrictor that forces the heart to work much harder than it should.

1 Corinthians 6 has a handful of verses that are often applied to smoking. 

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 - Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 

While the context of this is verse is sexual immorality, Paul poses this question after pointing out that immoral sex is a sin against your body. If we're looking at the passage honestly, it's the idolatry of illicit sex instead of submitting to God's plan for marriage and sex that is the problem. Verse 12“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. Gluttony is a sin, and often discouraged in the Bible, but few today would say that having piece of pie, as nutrient empty as it is, is a sin. Addiction to food or smoking clearly runs afoul of the warnings in this text and into the sin of idolatry.

1 Corinthians 10:31 - So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 

Can you smoke to the glory of God? While these old theologians may have claimed at one time that they did so, it's doubtful to me that they would make the same statement living with the medical knowledge we have today. If it's your conviction that you can have an occasional cigarette or cigar, far away from children, without violating God's directions for life, I will not talk you out of that conviction. If it's a habit, if you need that cigarette to feel normal, or if the hundreds or thousands of dollars a year you're spending on tobacco ought to be in your family's emergency savings account, education fund, or providing for your future health care, I would ask you to take a better look at Scripture and your conscience.