There’s something that really saddens me when I walk through the university belt area. I see countless numbers of students with cigarettes in their hands. According to the State of the Philippine Population Report, about half of all Filipino youth have tried smoking. About half of those who try will never quit—young men being the most likely to become lifetime smokers. The number of young women who try cigarettes has also increased from 17% in ’94 to 30% in 2002.
This smoking epidemic is evident everywhere. It is not unusual for me to see guys smoking outside of the gym. This seems like the ultimate contradiction to me—spending an hour lifting weights, then poisoning your body. I also meet nursing students who smoke—another contradiction, considering that medical professionals should be more aware of the dangers.
Smoking and the Bible
Students sometimes ask me if cigarette smoking is forbidden in the Bible. Here’s the answer: yes, because smoking violates two very important biblical principles.
Principle #1: The Body is the Lord’s
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
-1st Corinthians 6:19-20
The Bible teaches us that the body is God’s temple. Our earthly bodies are temporary, but we should do everything in our power to take care of ourselves. Smoking violates this principle because it destroys the body. Consider this quote from Quit Smoking Philippines.
“Cigarette smoke contains over 4000 chemicals, and more than 50 of these chemicals cause cancer. These chemicals also cause cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, tooth loss and gum disease, gastrointestinal problems and several other preventable health problems.”
The health problems associated with cigarette smoking have been scientifically proven for decades. Cancer and heart/lung problems are the inevitable outcome of long-term cigarette use.
If this wasn’t bad enough, smoking ruins one’s appearance as well one’s health. Most dermatologists agree that smoking is a major factor in premature aging of the skin (second only to sun exposure). This is due to the fact that smoking reduces the blood circulation in the skin. Below is a computer enhanced picture from no-smoking.org:
This picture shows the potential difference in a smoking and non-smoking twin. Though this picture has been altered, it is quite realistic. To see some actual twin photos (unaltered) you can visit here
Principle #2: Mastery and Addiction
You must not have any other god but me.
-Exodus 20:3 (1# of the Ten Commandments)
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything.
-1st Corinthians 6:12
Christ demands our absolute loyalty. He wants us to obey Him and completely depend on Him in all things. We cannot wholeheartedly follow God if we have addictions. The addiction will always compete for the affection that belongs to God.
Make no mistake—nicotine is a highly addictive chemical. Once someone becomes addicted, he/she lives for the next nicotine “fix.” God does not want us to be enslaved by such an addiction. He wants us to be free—free to serve Him.
Some Good News:
If you are a smoker, I still have some good news. The human body does make a remarkable recovery if you are willing to stop. Here’s what happens when you quit:
20 minutes after your last cigarette:
* Your blood pressure drops to normal.
* Your pulse rate drops to normal.
* Your hand and foot temperature rises to normal.
8 hours after your last cigarette:
* Your blood carbon monoxide levels drop to normal.
* Your blood oxygen level increases to normal.
1 day after your last cigarette:
* Your chances of heart attack and stroke start decreasing.
2 days after your last cigarette:
* Your senses of taste and smell begin to heighten.
* Certain nerve endings begin to re-grow.
* Nicotine by-products are removed from your body.
3 days after your last cigarette:
* Your bronchial tubes start to relax, making breathing easier.
* Your lung capacity begins to improve.
* Physical withdrawal from nicotine is complete
(you can read more about the benefits at http://www.quitsmoking.com.ph/benefits.htm)
Long-term smoking, of course, will cause irreversible damage—the sooner you quit the better.
I advise all of you to avoid cigarettes—don’t get started. If you have started, please quit immediately. A few days of withdrawal will restore a lifetime of health. Let’s present our bodies to God as holy and pleasing sacrifices (Romans 12:1).
Note: Be sure to visit my strength, fitness and weight loss blog.
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