Tobacco use is more than just a bad habit. Read here facts you may not have considered!
IF SMOKING IS good for you, why do an estimated 90 percent of smokers try to quit their ever-popular habit? What are these smokers telling us? If you're presently a smoker, have you considered why you smoke?
NO Useful Function
Certainly if you live in the Western world, you've heard or seen the various arguments against smoking. And you know their validity. Yet, every day, thousands light up their first cigarette, chew their first chaw of tobacco, or sample their first puff of the charred leaf. Why? The World Health Organization (WHO) declares smoking to be "a deplorably widespread instrument of death." A former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) characterized smoking as "slow-motion suicide." Dr. C. Everett Koop, the U.S. Surgeon General, thundered this warning: "Cigarette smoking is clearly identified as the chief preventable cause of death in our society and the most important public health issue of our time." He charged that smoking is accountable for 340,000 deaths in the United States annually. Tobacco lobbyists weakly assert that there is no direct link between lung cancer and smoking. Dr. Koop's conclusive answer? "Cigarette smoking is the major single cause of cancer mortality in the United States." Official commissions and studies conducted in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and the United Kingdom have further confirmed the smoking-cancer link! Do you realize that if you develop lung cancer and are male, you have less than a 9 percent chance of surviving? If you're a woman, you have only slightly better odds. There's "only" an 88 percent chance that you won't survive. If you're a woman smoker, do you realize that death from lung cancer in women has bloated to nearly 1,000 percent over the 1930 rate? There's a hollow ring to the woman's cigarette advertisement "You've come a long way, baby" when authorities predict that the 1980s will see lung cancer eclipse breast cancer as the leading cause of women cancer deaths. Further, women smokers who bear children have to face the facts that smoking mothers suffer more stillbirths than their nonsmoking counterparts. And that smoking mothers often bear children with lower birth weight. These babies are also often more vulnerable to disease and premature death. These facts aren't pleasant to hear or read — but they're the result of humans demanding their right to personal choice. If you're a smoker — it's indeed your personal choice!
No Physical Benefits
The American Cancer Society pegs cigarette smoking as responsible for 120,000 unnecessary deaths from heart trouble in the United States every year! If you're a smoker, you also face a risk of death four to 25 times greater than nonsmokers from chronic bronchitis and emphysema. And finally, even if by some freak chance you don't develop cancer of some sort, you automatically shorten your life by nearly nine years — almost a full decade! And all this for a quarter century of wheezing daily through only two packs of cigarettes. This evidence has resulted in the ban of cigarette advertising in Australia, the Soviet Union, Norway and several other countries. These governments realize the danger to their citizens from smoking. If a smoker says he or she smokes because of enjoyment, that's the saddest form of self-deception there is. Let's face the truth! If you're a smoker, do you really enjoy the thrill of waking up in the morning hacking and coughing? Or the bird-cage taste of accumulated tars thickly coating your tongue? Or gasping for breath as you run for the morning bus while up to 12 percent of your red blood cells are rendered useless — tightly bound by carbon monoxide from cigarettes? If you claim to enjoy smoking, then you must also enjoy being shackled and physically addicted to nicotine. Because those powerful urges you experience each morning are the mimicry of addiction! No, any rational, honest person admits that habitual smoking is a perverted pleasure. We speak from experience. Editor-in-chief Herbert W. Armstrong, once a light smoker, squarely confronted the question almost 35 years before the 1964 U.S. antismoking report: "I then asked myself: 'Why do I smoke? Is it to express outgoing love to God?' Most assuredly not! `Am I smoking to express outgoing love and concern for the welfare of other humans?' I had to answer in the negative." Mr. Armstrong rightly concluded that smoking is "a form of self-desire." And this self-desire pulls millions of people into what many authorities call the number one drug addiction problem.
A Pro-smoking Society
A smoker starts his (or her) habit chiefly through conformity. One cigarette advertisement unwittingly tapped the truth when it said: "This is your world. This is your [cigarette brand]. Taste it all." Today's world is largely pro-smoking. Despite the aforementioned bans on cigarette advertising, nearly one in three in Australia remains a confirmed smoker. The number of smokers in the United States is slowly declining (but cigarette consumption is actually up). Prosperous Japanese are adding daily to their smoking number. The reason? Because a hypocritical society portrays smoking as a mature, socially acceptable trait. Every year, in the absence of sound parental advice and guidance, young teenagers fall prey to this false concept. They want to look mature and grown-up, so they endure the initial unpleasant physical reactions. They cough, endure raw throats, spray perfume to mask smoke residue — until finally their young bodies succumb. Later, they find it nearly impossible to quit! After they become educated to the dangers of smoking, millions find themselves gripped in a classic addiction! But the good news is that millions worldwide are waking up! More than 30 million have smashed the literal yoke of nicotine addiction. They understand that "a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him" (II Pet. 2:19, New International Version), and have quit! How did editor-in-chief Armstrong rightly deduce smoking was wrong decades before scientific evidence confirmed it? Through the knowledge and application of broad spiritual principles! Few realize the awesome purpose of the human body! "Do you not know that your [human] body is the temple of the Holy Spirit... and you are not your own?... therefore glorify God in your body" (I Cor. 6:19-20, New King James Version). Ask yourself: can a smoker honestly fulfill this? Is risking lung cancer, throat and mouth disorders, premature heart disease and infant stillbirth glorifying God? Make no mistake, smoking violates both of the great commandments of God's law as expressed by Jesus: that of loving God first above all things, and second, of loving your neighbor "as yourself" (Matt. 22:37-39, NKJV). And if smoking violates either of these commandments, smoking is sin, because "sin is lawlessness" (I John 3:4, NKJV). But, some may object, this is a pro-smoking society. By smoking, people only follow accepted standards. God's answer? "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world" (Rom. 12:2, NIV). To continue smoking, a person must blind and deceive himself (or herself). Physically and spiritually, there is no tangible benefit from smoking. The cigarette manufacturers think they benefit — to the tune of $85 billion annually. Governments pick up extra millions in tax revenue through various cigarette taxes.
You CAN Overcome
Here are some vital means to conquering the smoking habit: • Clearly define and write down your objectives for not smoking. List health, family, financial, spiritual and other reasons. Keep your eyes on your objectives; never let your goal disappear or become hazy. Try to look beyond the initial difficult days of fighting the habit to the time you will be happily unshackled from nicotine addiction. • Stop all smoking completely. Tapering off on the amount you smoke doesn't work for most people. It's not easy to quit "cold turkey," but it's presently the most successful way. Find someone to help you and to be a positive support. Commit yourself — throw away and destroy all pipes and tobacco stock. As the Bible says, "make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires" (Rom. 13:14, Revised Standard Version). • Avoid compromising situations. Don't let friends, relatives or stressful situations cause you to give in. Experience shows that many former smokers quickly relapse to their former habits after "just one little puff." Avoid situations where you would previously have lit up, such as large parties or long trips in a car. If you must attend social occasions where many smoke, announce to people that you've quit. Put a little positive pressure on yourself to "toe the line" of your commitment. • Don't be discouraged or fearful of failure. If you happen to slip, don't give up. The actual unpleasantness of nicotine withdrawal usually subsides within 72 hours of your last cigarette (depends on the person), but the psychological temptations remain much longer. You may initially experience tension, hunger, some constipation and symptoms of restlessness, but, be assured — they will subside shortly. • Seek additional help from health agencies and/or clinics. Detailed plans to help you stop smoking are available in virtually every country, many of them free. • Utilize the power available to you from God! God promises to help those who humble themselves and seek him in prayer (Ps. 103:11-14; Isa. 55:7-8). If you'd like to know how to fully utilize this awesome source of real power, read our free reprint articles "How to Be an OVERCOMER," and "How You Can Be Imbued With the POWER of God!." If you're a smoker, a life free from the taste of tar residue, a life of reduced cancer and coronary risk and improved physical vitality can lie before you. There's a price to pay but it's worth it. To the nonsmoker, or newly initiated smoker, do yourself a favor and practice some real independent thinking for a change: don't smoke. And if you're interested in seeing in greater depth what the Bible has to say about principles not revealed by science, read your free copy of The Incredible Human Potential. This free book will help you see why it is such a tragedy when people degenerate to smoking. Humanity's purpose is far above inhaling the vapor of charred tobacco. You can know why, too.