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Clearing the Air on Smoking


CBN.comLong before Christopher Columbus first set foot in the New World, the Indians there were growing and smoking tobacco. This curious practice must have caught Christopher's attention, because he made sure tobacco seeds found a place among the souvenirs he brought home from his voyage.

After that, it didn't take long for the smokey habit to take hold in Europe. By the time the colonists settled in America, tobacco had become an extremely profitable crop. Europeans paid so much for the leafy American export that the colonists had to enact laws to force farmers to dedicate some of their land to food crops.

The tobacco industry has been raking in profits ever since. In the early 1980's the U.S. cigarette industry's annual sales neared $50 billion.

But the love affair with the tobacco plant was tinged with betrayal right from the start. As early as the 17th century, suggestions were raised that smoking could cause health problems. Not until 1960, however, did scientists establish that smoking tobacco products could cause lung cancer, heart disease and other health problems. By 1985 more than 30,000 studies on smoking and its effect on health had been published worldwide.

All of this has had an effect on the number of adults who light up. The percentage of adults in the U.S. who smoke dropped from an all-time high of 42 percent in the early 1960s to 26 percent by the 1980s.

The number of people who smoke would undoubtedly drop even more dramatically if it were not for two powerful factors:

Over the years, the cigarette industry has poured billions of dollars into advertising that portrays smoking as a glamorous, sophisticated activity. Their investment is paying off. Nearly one million teenagers pick up the smoking habit each year.

The nicotine in cigarettes is as addictive as cocaine or heroin. That's the finding of the U.S. Surgeon General. No wonder people continue to smoke despite the horrifying statistics associated with it.

Help for those who want to quit (or for those who know they should, but don't yet want to) is what this study guide is about. It will help you think through your own attitude about smoking. It will also help you discover what the Bible says about it.

Please ask God to show you His wisdom before you start. Then look up each scripture and write down your answers to the questions. There are no right or wrong answers. What's important is your willingness for God to show you His will and His resources for your life.

Does the Bible Say I Shouldn't Smoke?

While the Bible doesn't address the issue of smoking directly, you will find a number of biblical principles which apply to your smoking habit. The following study guide will help you discover these principles: (Print this page and fill in the blanks)

1. When you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, God puts His Holy Spirit into you. Read 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.

a. According to this passage, how does God view your body?

b. How should you treat your body in light of this?

c. Considering what is known about the effects of smoking on your body, do you think smoking is in conflict with how you should treat your body?

2. Read Genesis 1:26.

a. What did God give man to rule over?

b. How does the earth's plant life fit into this plan? How can man "rule" over it? Where do you think the tobacco plant fits into this plan?

3. In 2 Peter 2:19, the Bible addresses the danger of false teachers who had given themselves to indulging fleshly appetites and were leading others into worldly behavior.

a. How does this verse describe someone who is controlled by something?

b. The nicotine found in cigarettes has been proven to be addictive. Therefore, based on this verse, how would you describe a habitual smoker's relationship to cigarettes?

c. How does this compare to the order God intended when He gave man rule over all the earth?

4. Read Ephesians 5:17. Based on the scientific evidence of the effects of smoking and your understanding of what the Bible says, what do you think God wants YOU to do about smoking?

5. If you believe that smoking is something that God wants you to stop doing, then it is a sin for you to smoke because you are doing something contrary to God's will. Read Romans 6:12 and write what it means to you as far as smoking is concerned.

What Are God's Promises?

6. Cigarette addiction is one habit of this world that many people struggle with. Write in your own words the promises God gives you that will help you overcome the desire to smoke:

1 Corinthians 10:13

James 4:7

Philippians 4:13

7. One problem that concerns many smokers who want to quit is how the withdrawal will affect them emotionally. What promise does God give in Isaiah 26:3 to those who trust God?

What If I Need More Help?

8. Jesus acknowledged that people sometimes have difficulty doing what they know is the right thing to do. Read Matthew 26:41. What are two things He says to do?



9. Psalm 119:11 mentions something else that will give you strength. What is it?

Note: 1 John 2:17 and Philippians 4:13 are two good verses to "hide in your heart" (memorize them and then think about them if you feel the need to smoke). You will find many other verses that will help you grow strong in your walk with God.

10. Are you filled with God's Spirit? If you have made Jesus your Lord and Savior, ask God to FILL you with His Holy Spirit and to give you HIS power to do ALL that He wants you to do-not just to quit smoking. Read Luke 11:11-13 and Galatians 5:16. Write out your prayer for God's Spirit to fill you and give you the power to be free from cigarettes:

What If I Fail?

11. Read 1 John 1:9. This verse tells you how to face any failure you have in obeying the will of God.

Summarize this verse in your own words.

12. Follow up any failure you meet in obeying God's will with 2 Thessalonians 3:13. What's the nugget of wisdom in this verse?

When You Smoke

  • Each puff you take assaults your lungs with about 4,000 chemicals, more than 40 of them known to cause cancer.
  • You are 10 times more likely to get cancer than a nonsmoker.
  • You are two times more likely to have a heart attack than a nonsmoker.
  • You are more likely than a nonsmoker to suffer from emphysema, chronic bronchitis, a stroke, male impotence or one of numerous other ailments to which smoking has been linked.
  • You chance joining the 320,000 people who die unnecessarily each year -- because of smoking.
  • Research with nonsmoking spouses and children of smokers confirms you may be hurting the health of people you love.
  • If you are addicted to cigarettes, you are essentially a slave to a plant. Yet God created you to rule over the earth.

When You Quit

  • No matter how old you are, or how long you've been smoking, unless irreversible disease has begun:
  • Your risk of heart disease lowers IMMEDIATELY!
  • Your circulation improves immediately.
  • Within days your lungs begin to clear.
  • Your risk of cancer drops steadily.
  • After 5 years your risk of many diseases is the same as a nonsmoker. After 10 years your overall risk of death is the same as someone who has never smoked.

Steps to Victory Over Smoking

  • Admit to God you have been doing something you consider wrong - you have been harming your body, God's temple. Tell God you want and need His forgiveness. He will hear you!
  • Admit to God that you need His help in order to live your life rightly. Ask Him to deliver you from the addiction.
  • Decide to quit smoking. Resolve that with God's help, you will never again smoke another cigarette.
  • Make a total break. Say, "That's it. No more." Then get rid of everything that might tempt you. That may mean staying out of situations where you normally would have smoked.
  • Find others - preferably Christians - who have given up the habit. Seek their help and prayers.

God can instantly deliver you from the desire to smoke, both psychologically and physically. But whether you experience immediate freedom or you be in a "battle for freedom," you can be assured that God will strengthen you. Your part is to get serious with yourself and God.

What if you want to obey God but don't really want to quit smoking? Talk to God about it. If you truly want to have the desire to stop smoking, ask God, and he will give it to you.

Practical Help for Withdrawal

What to do to minimize the effects of withdrawal:

  • Keep active. Exercise, especially before eating.
  • Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day.
  • Eat low calorie snacks (stay away from sweets).
  • Suck low calorie candy to counteract dry mouth.
  • If you experience difficulty coping with withdrawal, call a friend. Or call the CBN Prayer Line at 1-804-420-0700.

Common Withdrawal Symptoms You May Feel

  • Irritability
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Hunger, especially for sweets
  • Dry mouth
  • Depression

These will go away!

Note about weight gain: Smoking speeds up your metabolism. When you quit, your body will need less food to maintain your weight. The above suggestions will not only help with withdrawal symptoms, but will also help you avoid gaining weight. Just remember, when you quit smoking you will look and feel better - even if you gain a few pounds initially.

Verses For Study on Smoking

  • 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 - Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
  • Genesis 1:26 - Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."
  • 2 Peter 2:19 - They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity - for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.
  • Ephesians 5:17 - Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.
  • Romans 6:12 - Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.
  • 1 Corinthians 10:13 - No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
  • James 4:7 - Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
  • Philippians 4:13 - I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
  • John 2:16-17 - For everything in the world - the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does - comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
  • Isaiah 26:3 - You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
  • Matthew 26:41 - Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.
  • Psalm 119:11 - I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
  • Luke 11:11-13 - Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
  • Galatians 5:16 - So I say, live by the spirit, and will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
  • John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
  • Thessalonians 3:13 - And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.

Under Control

The smoking habit held Mark firmly in its grip. But as he puffed on, Mark didn't think much about whether or not he should quit - or how much control it had on him.

Then a dramatic change occurred in Mark's life. Afterwards, Mark still didn't spend much time "thinking" about cigarettes or any of the other habits and problems that plague him. Nevertheless, one by one the old bondages dropped from his life.

What happened? Mark gave his life to Jesus Christ.

The Bible says all mankind is born into the bondage of sin. Sin breaks the fellowship God intended for man to have with Him and leads to eternal death (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23).

But God in His great love provided a way for man to be free from the control of sin and to experience eternal life with Him. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). Jesus died on a cross as payment for our sins.

If you have not already done so, pray this prayer to receive Jesus as your Savior and Lord (John 1:12, Rev. 3:20).

"Jesus, I need You. I thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. Cleanse me from my sins. I thank you for forgiving me. Take control of my life and make me the kind of person you want me to be. Amen."

If this prayer expresses your own desires, why don't you pray it right now. Then tell someone.

Have you invited Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior?
Send us an e-mail using our online form so that we can pray with you.

Telephone Prayer Counselors
If you have an immediate prayer request, or if you need to talk to a caring Christian friend, please call our 24-hour Prayer line at 1-800-759-0700.

Do you have a prayer Request?
Submit your prayer request using our online prayer request form. We pray over each need that is presented to us.

Find a Church Near You

If you need ongoing support, we encourage you to contact the pastor of your local church. With the guidance of your pastor, you might also consider seeking professional Christian counseling. Here are some national ministries that we can recommend:

The Association of Christians in Private Practice

New Life Ministries

Rapha National Network

Emerge Ministries

Are you searching for peace with God? Find it here!

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

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