In 2013, 25.5 percent of the U.S. population age 12 and older used a tobacco product at least once in the month prior to being interviewed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In addition, almost 55.8 million Americans (21.3 percent of the population) were current cigarette smokers. Needless to say, the individual reading this article will likely know a tobacco user, if not be one himself/herself. While this article may not be received well because so many people use tobacco, Christians need to be aware of the facts!
Most people, including Christians, do not think twice about tobacco products because so many people use them. Many Christians don’t think about tobacco when they hear sermons on drugs or addictions, but tobacco is a recreational drug abused by so many, and many of them assemble in the church. Most tobacco products contain a very serious and deadly drug called Nicotine. Has anyone ever looked at the ingredients to their tobacco products? Cigarettes and tobacco chew contain Nicotine, which is used by the Coast Guard to kill sharks. Drop for drop, it is three times more deadly than arsenic, which is also in these products. Arsenic is used in rat poison, that is what you’re chewing and smoking! These products also contain chemicals of methane (a component of rocket fuel), ammonia (found in floor cleaners), cadmium (used in batteries), carbon monoxide (a poisonous by-product of car exhaust), formaldehyde (a chemical undertakes use to preserve dead body tissue), and hydrogen cyanide (the gas used in the gas chambers). How many Christians can honestly say they are being good stewards of their “spiritual house” while taking these drugs (1 Peter 2:5)? How can Christians bring glory to God in their bodies while purposefully poisoning themselves with tobacco products (1 Cor. 6:19-20)?
The tobacco companies kill 1 out every 3 of their customers, and they are the only legal companies that can do this. So why do people start using these products? Some use it out of peer pressure, others to lose weight or to decrease stress, while others do it simply because they like the look. However, once started the user quickly becomes a slave to the addiction.
During National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week in January, The National Institute on Drug Abuse seeks to expose facts and Shatter the Myths about drug use. Here’s a fact many might not know: Nicotine is just as addictive as heroin. That’s not a new-found fact. As far back as 1988, the surgeon general compared the addictive quality of nicotine to both heroin and cocaine (https://www.c-span.org/video/?2611-1/surgeon-generals-report-smoking-nicotine-addiction). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarette smoking results in more than 480,000 premature deaths in the United States each year (https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/tobacco-nicotine-e-cigarettes/what-scope-tobacco-use-its-cost-to-society). The United States government issued by law that all tobacco products are to put warning labels on their products disclosing the health dangers, especially its link to cancer. Tobacco is definitely an addictive and deadly recreational drug! God would not be pleased that so many are treating their bodies in such a way (1 Cor. 3:16-17).
The Bible categories sin in three areas: “The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life…” (1 John 2:16). The lust of flesh is defined by those vain things that the body desires in excess or addiction such as food (gluttony), alcohol, drugs, or other physical incontinences. When people allow their bodies to become addicted to a drug like Nicotine, the body lusts after it, allowing themselves to become a drug addict searching for that next fix. Addicts have allowed such elements power over their bodies (Rom. 6:12, 19). Being a drug addict is living in sinfulness, and someone addicted to Nicotine, whether he/she will admit it or not, is an addict.
Paul says in regard to keeping the body’s earthly desires under control, “…I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Cor. 6:12). He also states to the church at Corinth, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Cor. 9:27). How can Christians submit their bodies to God if they are already under submission to some drug addiction? For those who are Christians, their bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). If a person has given themselves to God, then they are not their own, but rather they belong to God. Their bodies belong to the Almighty, and they are to be good stewards of what God has given them, which includes their health. If Christians abuse their bodies by filling them with harmful chemicals, drugs, and alcohol, how much good are they going to be for God. They are to live for Christ (2 Cor. 5:15)! Their bodies belong to God, and they are not their own!