The Bible’s answer
The Bible does not mention smoking * or other means of using tobacco. However, it contains principles showing that God does not approve of unhealthy and unclean habits and thus views smoking as a sin.
- Respect for life. “God . . . gives to all people life and breath.” (Acts 17:24, 25) Since life is a gift from God, we should not do anything that would shorten our life, such as smoking. Smoking is one of the main causes of preventable death worldwide.
- Love of neighbor. “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39) Smoking around others does not show love. Those who are routinely subjected to secondhand smoke are at higher risk of some of the same diseases that smokers often suffer from.
- The need to be holy. “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.” (Romans 12:1) “Let us cleanse ourselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1) Smoking is unnatural and incompatible with being holy—that is, clean and pure—because tobacco users intentionally consume toxins that seriously damage their body.
Does the Bible say anything about the recreational use of marijuana or other drugs?
The Bible does not mention marijuana (also known as weed or pot) or similar drugs by name. But it contains principles that rule out the recreational use of such addictive substances. In addition to the foregoing principles, the following also apply:
- The need to control our mental faculties. “You must love Jehovah your God . . . with your whole mind.” (Matthew 22:37, 38) “Keep your senses completely.” (1 Peter 1:13) A person cannot fully control his mind when abusing drugs, and many people even become addicted to them. Their minds focus on obtaining and using drugs rather than on upbuilding thoughts.—Philippians 4:8.
- Obedience to secular laws. “Be obedient to governments and authorities.” (Titus 3:1) In many lands, the law strictly controls the use of some drugs. If we want to please God, we should obey secular authorities.—Romans 13:1.
Tobacco and Your Health
The World Health Organization estimates that every year, about six million people die of diseases related to the use of tobacco, including over 600,000 nonsmokers affected by secondhand smoke. Consider how tobacco affects the health of those who use it and the health of others around them.
Cancer. Tobacco smoke contains over 50 carcinogenic chemicals. The Encyclopædia Britannica states that tobacco smoke is “believed to account for 90 percent of all cases of lung cancer.” Tobacco smoke can cause cancer in other organs, including the mouth, trachea, esophagus, throat, larynx, liver, pancreas, and bladder.
Respiratory diseases. Tobacco smoke increases the chances of respiratory ailments such as pneumonia and influenza. Children who regularly inhale secondhand smoke are more prone to suffer from asthma, chronic cough, and reduced lung growth and function.
Heart disease. Smokers are at greater risk of suffering a stroke or developing heart disease. Carbon monoxide present in tobacco smoke easily passes from the lungs to the bloodstream, where it displaces oxygen. With less oxygen available in the blood, the heart has to work harder to deliver oxygen to the body.
Effects on pregnancy. Women who smoke while pregnant increase the risk of their babies being born prematurely, with low birth weight, or with certain birth defects such as a cleft lip. Such babies could also develop respiratory problems or suffer sudden infant death syndrome.