HOUSMAIL HM#078 - SMOKING AND CHRISTIANITY                                                                    16 July 2001

Last week an enquirer asked for some comment on the subject of "Smoking and Christianity".

Q. What does God think about smoking? Where in the Bible does he tell us this?

A. The Bible doesn't mention the word "smoking" at all.

However it does cover the subject in other INDIRECT ways.

For instance, it does tell us NOT TO ALLOW OURSELVES TO BE ENSLAVED BY ANYTHING. That would include ANY drug of addiction -- such as heroin, cocaine, alcohol, or NICOTINE! Use your Bible to check out:

"All things are lawful for me," but not all things are HELPFUL. "All things are lawful for me," but I WILL NOT BE ENSLAVED by anything."(1 Corinthians 6:12 RSV)

"They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for whatever overcomes a man, to that he is ENSLAVED."(2 Peter 2:19 RSV)

There can be no question that the nicotine inhaled by smokers, is "enslaving". (=addictive) However, it is NOT only that. It is also NOT "helpful". i.e. It has many harmful side effects . And for this dedicated non-smoker, it is a filthy objectionable habit which defiles and pollutes the environment in which we live.

It shouldn't take much serious PRAYERFUL thinking to decide that although none of those verses above DIRECTLY forbid smoking, it should certainly be considered as high on the list of "enslaving habits" which Christians are to avoid.



Many people I know who smoke, seem to use it as a "stress reliever" which calms their nerves when under pressure. However, I am not sure which comes first! The stress which they relieve by smoking -- or the smoking for which they need to find an excuse, and therefore seize on their "stress" to justify the "habit"!

Either way, a Christian who truly knows Jesus, should NOT need nicotine to relieve stress.

God says it in Isaiah:
"Thou dost keep him in PERFECT PEACE, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusts in thee."  (Isaiah 26:3)

And Jesus makes it part of the GOSPEL. He promises that if we will follow Him, He will give peace beyond anything else that this world can offer.
"PEACE I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."(John 14:27)

Paul confirms it:
"Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the PEACE OF GOD, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)

Christians need to learn that sort of trust in God. When we do have it, it requires no external chemical help from Nicotine!


We need to remember that the level of self control required to break addiction to Nicotine is NOT exclusive to Christians! Even unbelievers are able to quit smoking when sufficiently motivated. It isn't always easy, but all it takes to succeed, is a few days of determined resistance to withdrawal symptoms!

But, the Christian does have a special promise of a level of self control, far beyond that of the unbeliever! It is one of the marks the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian! "SELF CONTROL" is one of the THE GOALS of Christian Character and living! (Galatians 5:22-24)

How much more possible ought it to be then, for a CHRISTIAN, indwelt by the Holy Spirit -- the active operational presence of God, and the enabling power of God -- to exercise at least as much of the self control required to break the power of addiction to nicotine?

If we are indeed His children, our bodies have become a human temple, in which God lives !

(1 Cor 3:16;6:1-20; 2 Cor 6:16-18;1 Cor 7:1)
That doesn't mean it will always be EASY to exercise enough self control, to quit deeply ingrained addictions like smoking -- but it does mean that with God's help, it WILL be possible -- if only we will assume responsibility for exercising the God given self control which He most assuredly wants to teach us to use!




This is a fairly recent development. It is only just over a decade since the company for which I used to work became one of the first major corporations in Australia to ban smoking from the workplace. Since then most others have followed suit. And smoking was also banned on airlines, public transport, and many public places. The incentive appears to have been largely "insurance driven", following several successful law suits where massive damages were awarded for injury caused by passive smoking.

More recently -- only this month in fact -- legislation came into force which bans smoking in all restaurants. Public reaction amongst non-smokers is universal delight that smokers can no longer FORCE others to be "passive smokers".

Finally, there is my own personal «LAW» which predates government legislation! (I am VERY "legalistic" about this!) NO ONE is permitted to defile our home by smoking here! Smokers are either sent outside, or, if they become "stroppy", quietly and respectfully invited to leave!