Do you smoke and need to quit? Could you help someone who wants to quit?

(Photo by Geierunited)


Should anyone smoke?

It’s been said that good habits are hard to make but easy to live with, while bad habits are easy to make but are hard to live with.

The intent of the new law looks to make it a little harder to start.

Should Christians smoke?

Does smoking show love to self or neighbor?



Here are some facts to consider from the US Centers for Disease Control:

Smoking leads to disease and disability and harms nearly every organ of the body.

  • More than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking.
  • For every person who dies because of smoking, at least 30 people live with a serious smoking-related illness.
  • Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
  • Smoking also increases risk for tuberculosis, certain eye diseases, and problems of the immune system, including rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Smoking is a known cause of erectile dysfunction in males.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death.

  • Worldwide, tobacco use causes more than 7 million deaths per year. If the pattern of smoking all over the globe doesn’t change, more than 8 million people a year will die from diseases related to tobacco use by 2030.
  • Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day.
  • On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers. accessed 12/27/19

Smoking is bad.

Moses said, “be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).

You do not “get away with” smoking.

Consider also that smoking causes DNA damage:

November 3, 2016

Smoking leaves an “archaeological record” of the hundreds of DNA mutations it causes, scientists have discovered.

Having sequenced thousands of tumour genomes, they found a 20-a-day smoker would rack up an average of 150 mutations in every lung cell each year.

Smoking is dangerous and hurts the smoker and those around the smoker.

Notice some of what the New Testament teaches:

19. WHAT! Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, which you have within you from God, and you are not your own? 20. For you were bought with a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, AFV)

37…”‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40, NKJV)

Consider that smoking does not glorify God in your body–it harms your body. Consider that smoking also does not show love towards one’s neighbor–it harms your neighbor. Smoking is a sin against the body, and sometimes more than that.

Don’t deceive yourself that smoking is not a sin:

8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10)

Can or should smokers quit?


As hard as it seems to be, smokers can change. Notice that the Apostle Paul taught:

13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

Jesus can help the smoker.

The Apostle Paul also specifically taught that Christians who had a variety of sinful practices can change (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

Here is information about his own smoking and views on it by the late Hebert W. Armstrong from his Autobiography:

In order to keep up with the job, due to inadaptability and resultant slowness, it became necessary to work nights. I established a system. I worked alternately one night until ten, the next until midnight, rising at 5:30 every morning. Time had to be taken out to walk the one or two miles from my room to the mill, and also to walk over to the boarding house where I took meals. I kept awake on the job nights by smoking a pipe — my first habitual smoking. In just six months this overwork and loss of sleep exacted its toll, and I was sent to the hospital with a very severe case of typhoid fever…

I had taken up pipe smoking during those long and frantic night hours at Wiggins, Mississippi, as an aid to staying awake while I worked over the books. I had smoked, moderately, ever since. However, I will say that I was never a heavy smoker. Never more than one cigar a day, or three or four cigarettes in a day. That’s the reason I did not have the battle many men have had in breaking the habit, when I saw that it had to be broken…

{Later} I was baptized, the matter of smoking had to be settled. Of course the Quaker church, in which I had been reared as a boy, taught that smoking was a sin. But I had been unhappily disillusioned to see that in so many basic points the Bible teaching is the very opposite of what I had absorbed in Sunday school. “I’ve got to see the answer to the tobacco question IN THE BIBLE!” I said to myself. Until I found the answer in the Bible, I decided I would continue as before — smoking mildly. I had continued to smoke lightly, averaging three or four cigarettes a day, or one cigar a day. I had never been a heavy smoker.

Now I had to face the question: Is smoking a SIN? I wanted the BIBLE answer, for I had learned by this time that Christ had said we must live by EVERY WORD OF GOD. The BIBLE is our Instruction Book on right living. We must find a BIBLE reason for everything we do. I knew, of course, there is no specific command, “Thou shalt not smoke.” But the absence of a detailed prohibition did not mean God’s approval. I had learned that GOD’S LAW is His WAY OF LIFE. It is a basic philosophy of life.

The whole Law is summed up in the one word LOVE.

I knew that love is the opposite of lust. Lust is self-desire — pleasing the self only. Love means loving others. Its direction is not inward toward self alone, but outgoing, toward others. I knew the Bible teaches that “lust of the flesh” is the way of SIN.

So now I began to apply the principle of God’s Law. I asked myself, “WHY do I smoke?” To please others — to help others — to serve or minister to or express love toward others — or only to satisfy and gratify a desire of the flesh within my own self? The answer was instantaneously obvious. I had to be honest with it. My only reason for smoking was LUST OF THE FLESH, and lust of the flesh is, according to the BIBLE, sin! I stopped smoking immediately.

This beginning of overcoming was not too difficult, for it had not been a “big habit” with me. Once weaned, I was able to see it as it is — a dirty, filthy habit. And today we know it is a serious and major contributing cause of lung cancer! God designed and created the human body. He designed the LUNGS to take in FRESH AIR to fire and oxidize the blood, and at the same time to filter out of the blood the impurities and waste matter the blood has picked up throughout the body. Befouled smoke, containing the poisons of nicotine and tars, reduces the efficiency of the operation of this vital organ.

The physical human body is, God says, the very TEMPLE of His Holy Spirit. If we defile this TEMPLE — this physical body — God says He will destroy us! God intended us, if we are to be COMPLETE, to live happy, healthy and abundant lives, and to gain eternal life, to take in HIS SPIRIT — not poisonous foreign substances like tobacco.

Hebert W. Armstrong died on January 16, 1986, at age 93 1/2. His reasons for quitting smoking make biblical sense to me. People should not smoke. It harms them and others around them.

He concluded, correctly, that Christians should not smoke.

Quitting cigarette smoking is good for your health. A study out of the UK has quantified that for women:

Life expectancy was dramatically improved among participants in Great Britain’s Million Women Study who quit smoking compared with continuous smokers, confirming the previously uncertain benefits of smoking cessation in women, researchers said.

Although women who stopped smoking around age 50 remained at significantly higher risk of all-cause mortality compared with never-smokers (relative risk 1.56, 95% CI 1.49 to 1.64), it was much lower than the tripled risk of death seen in current smokers, according to Kirstin Pirie, MSc, of the University of Oxford in England, and colleagues…

“Stopping well before age 40 years would avoid well over 90% of the excess hazard in continuing smokers,” Pirie and colleagues wrote.

But, they stressed, “this does not … mean that it is safe to smoke until age 40 years and then stop.”

Researchers who followed one million women found those who smoked a pack a day starting in their teens reduced life expectancy by an average of 11 years, according to a new study published in The Lancet. NBC’s Robert Bazell reports.

The sooner one quits, the better it is for one’s health.

Notice one reported way to help a smoker quit:

September 9, 2013

Want a smoker to quit? Scare, shock or disgust him. That’s what the U.S. government did with its first federally funded anti-smoking ad campaign and, new data suggest, it worked.

An estimated 1.6 million Americans tried to quit and at least 100,000 likely succeeded as a result of graphic ads that showed how real ex-smokers had suffered paralysis, stroke, lung removal, heart attacks and limb amputations, according to a study Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The first round of ads ran from March through May in 2012, followed by a second one this past spring. A third round is planned for next year.

The CDC created the startling ads after consulting with smokers, who urged it to make the statistics about smoking — that it’s the leading cause of preventable death and that it shortens life expectancy by 10 years — real. So it focused on the effects of smoking-related disease rather than the risk of death.

Of course, the smoker also has to want to quit. But realizing the truth about smoking should help.

Notice also the following from someone in the Continuing Church of God:

I have an unusual aspect of faith that I went through. I am a recovering alcoholic and smoker. When I first became a member of WCG in 1982 (I think), I smoked and drank. I knew I couldn’t continue in the Church without repentance and therefore quitting. I prayed to God regarding smoking (drinking wasn’t that bad in those days) and through His Word, I quit. After falling away (sometime in the late 90’s, I think), I started smoking again and drinking became quite severe. I longed for the days when God was in my life (I know I was the one that left) when a friend of mine with similar feelings found the CCOG. We both immediately felt God said, “OK, here you go. Seek and ye shall find”.

The problem was I was back smoking and drinking and knowing I couldn’t continue with those habits. I was actually afraid to pray to God to quit smoking and drinking because I KNEW HE WOULD DO IT! I was scared to death to go without tobacco. The thought of having to deal with the irritability associated with quitting until my body was functioning normally was more than I wanted to deal with. The thought of night sweats and raw nerves until my body readjusted to no alcohol was really scary. These feelings were real and they kept me from turning to God. I tried to quit smoking on my own, every minute was an ordeal. I tried to quit drinking on my own, I was wringing wet with sweat at night and my legs screamed with “restlessness”. I lasted a couple of days at most each time I tried. It always reinforced my fear of praying to God for help because I knew He would help and I would have to go through the ordeal just described. I just kept putting off quitting because of fear.

I was so bothered by my behavior and knew I couldn’t continue with the way I was going that I finally asked God to make me quit. He did, just like I knew He would. I threw my burden on Christ and said “here it’s yours”. Now I waited for the irritability of no cigarettes and the dreaded night sweats. They never came.

In my fear I forgot how merciful God is. I thank Him hour by hour for stopping me from smoking and drinking. I use this experience to try to let go of my fears in other areas and let the gift of God increase my faith.

Yes, God is merciful.

Biblical Tips to Help You Quit

Having grown up in an area where I knew a lot of people who smoked, it was clear to me that quitting smoking is not easy for those really hooked on it.

Christians can ask God for assistance in stopping smoking. Christians need to have faith in God (see also the free pdf booklet Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen).

But what if you make mistakes and stumble?

If you stumble get up!

Consider that Jesus stated to His disciples:

31 All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written:

‘I will strike the Shepherd,
And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ (Matthew 26:31)

Well, a dozen of the stumbling disciples ended up being the 12 apostles.

James wrote:

2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. (James 3:2)

James was including himself in that. The New Testament says we ALL stumble in one thing or the other.

If you stumble, you need to get up.


Jesus taught:

13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. (Matthew 24:11)

James also wrote:

12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12)

Jesus also taught:

20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. (Matthew 13:20-22)

Notice something else that James wrote:

2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? (James 4:2-5)

Be careful that you are not trying to get along with the smoking crowd.

6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:

“God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.

10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:6-10)

The Apostle Paul wrote:

13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Physical ways to “bear it” would include changing what you are doing when you are tempted to smoke. Do something else! Like go to another room. Start reading the Bible. For some, perhaps taking a walk or doing more vigorous exercise, et cetera.

Nicotine seems to have some temporary effects on the body, like the necessary thyroid hormone triiodothyronine. Nicotine is highly addictive and comes along with a range of negative chemicals in tobacco products that are harmful to human health. Nutritional support for the thyroid can help some break their addiction to nicotine.

Consider the analogy of getting air out of a glass. On our own, without equipment, we can’t make it a vacuum. But if we change the glass by pouring water in, the air leaves.

Be filled with the Holy Spirit:

18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, (Ephesians 5:18)

If you do not want to stumble and wish to be better filled with the Holy Spirit, take true heed of the instructions that the Apostle Peter wrote:

1 Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:1-11)

Not that it is easy, but the Bible says that if you endure, humble yourself, resist Satan, and draw near to God you can get to the point you would not stumble in your efforts to stop smoking.

You may have tried to stop smoking many times. You may have prayed about it.

You should not give up. In the Old Testament we read of God telling the children of Israel to punish the Benjamites in Judges 20:12-20, and those who tried to do so failed and suffered loss (Judges 20:21). Then, God told them to do it again (Judges 20:23), and they suffered loss again (Judges 20:25). The children of Israel wanted to give up (Judges 20:26-28), but God said to try again (Judges 20:28), and that time they succeeded Judges 20:29-46). What happened to the children of Israel was more difficult than not lighting up a cigarette.

Overcome bad habits. Jesus said:

7 … To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7)

26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations —

27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron;
They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’ —

as I also have received from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star. (Revelation 2:26-28)

12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. (Revelation 3:12)

7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. (Revelation 21:7)

Endure and overcome! The promised benefits are better than the “passing pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25)–which in the case of smoking also has serious health consequences.

Smoking is wrong and it kills people. God wants people to change/repent (Acts 17:30)–which means that, despite its difficulties it can be done (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:13).

The sooner one starts the better off one will be. Christians should strive to not smoke and should strive to be healthy.

With God’s help, yes, you can quit smoking or overcome other sins in your life.

As far as helping others to quit, IF they say they could like to quit, you could refer them to the following video on our Bible News Prophecy YouTube channel:

has been said that bad habits are easy to get into, but difficult to get out of. Smoking leads to disease and disability and harms nearly every organ of the body. On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers. A 20-cigarette-a-day smoker racks up an average of 150 mutations in every lung cell each year. Many find it hard to stop smoking as the nicotine habit is a difficult addiction to break. Is smoking a sin? Can smokers quit? Why did Herbert W. Armstrong quit smoking? Are there things that smokers can do to help them quit? If you have tried to quit before and failed, should you keep trying? Does the Bible offer any help to people addicted to smoking or other vices? Does Jesus promise rewards for those who overcome? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more.

Here is a link to our video: Should You Smoke? Would You Like Help to Quit?

Several items of possibly related interest include:

Should Christians Smoke Tobacco? Is smoking a sin? What does the Bible teach? What have COG leaders written? Can smokers change? What about marijuana?
Marijuana: Should a Christian Get High? There is increasing acceptance of the use of marijuana. How should Christians view this? Here is a related video titled How Should a Christian View Marijuana?
Alcohol: Blessing or Curse? This is an article from the old Good News magazine that attempts to answer this question.
Binge Alcohol Drinking and the Bible Many college students and others overindulge in alcohol. Are there health risks? What does the Bible teach?
Obesity, processed foods, health risks, and the Bible Does the Bible warn about the consequences of being obese? Is overeating dangerous? Is gluttony condemned? What diseases are associated with eating too much refined foods? A related video would be Eating Right, Eating Too Much, and Prophecy.
Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian This is a scripture-filled booklet for those wishing to live as a real Christian. A related sermon is also available: Christians are Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God.
Living as a Christian: How and Why? In what ways do Christians live differently than others. What about praying, fasting, tithing, holy days, and the world? There is also a YouTube video related to that also called: Living as a Christian: How and Why?
Who Was Herbert W. Armstrong? How is He Viewed Today?
Includes quotes from the 1973 edition of The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong and explains how he is and should be viewed today.
Overcoming Sin What is sin? How are Christians suppose to overcome it? Here is also a link to a video titled How to Overcome Sin.
How to Prevent Sin This is an article by Herbert W. Armstrong.
Just What Do You Mean Conversion? Many think that they are converted Christians. But are they? Would you like to know more about conversion. Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.

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