SMOKING It's More Than Just a Habit!
Plain Truth Magazine
September 1983
Volume: Vol 48, No.8
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SMOKING It's More Than Just a Habit!
Donald D Schroeder  

   IT'S TAKEN a long time for an agency of the United States government to officially state what's really been known about smoking.
   For years smoking was thought of as just a habit, though a particularly bad habit, for many.
   The latest U.S. government view, shared by many health officials and supported by extensive evidence, is clear. Cigarette smoking is "the most widespread example of drug dependence in the United States."
   A pamphlet released by the Office on Smoking and Health entitled, "Why People Smoke Cigarettes" calls cigarette smoking America's worst drug addiction problem. It involves addiction to the drug nicotine in tobacco and possibly other tobacco substances.
   Governments in other nations have also been warning their citizens about the addictive nature of smoking in recent years.
   An Australian government report of 1977 called Drug Problems in Australia An Intoxicated Society, says, "It is important to recognize that smoking is a form of drug dependence, but one with especially insidious characteristics."
   Also, an authoritative British report stated: "Tobacco smoking is a form of drug dependence different from but no less strong than that of other addictive drugs.... The most stable and well-adjusted person will if he smokes at all, almost inevitably become dependent on the habit" (The Royal College of Physicians, Smoking or Health. Third Report, 1977, page 98).
   The substances in cigarettes, like many other drugs, affect the chemistry of the brain and nervous system, and "create dependence and lead to compulsive use," the American pamphlet says.


   Many of the 56 million Americans and multiple scores of millions more in other nations are hooked on cigarettes in the same way heroin addicts are hooked on heroin or other persons are on other drugs. The addictive nature of cigarettes is a major reason sales continue at high levels despite widespread public knowledge about the health hazards.
   Most people start smoking to conform to peer or social pressures. They find smoking (more specifically, nicotine) at first acts as a stimulant. Later they find they need to smoke as a tranquilizer. What's happened to these smokers is they have developed a level of tolerance and bodily adjustment to nicotine. They must maintain that level in their blood or they will experience uncomfortable physical psychological problems. In reality these uncomfortable feelings, which occur when denied usual tobacco intake for some reason, are classic drug withdrawal symptoms.
   Common characteristics of addictive drugs are that they are psychoactive. They create brain and nervous system dependence and lead to compulsive use. They are associated with physiological and psychological distress in users who abruptly are deprived of them. Such withdrawal symptoms often include headache, stomach discomfort, nervousness, irritability, sweating, change in heart and blood pressure and lower excretion of some hormones affecting the nervous system.

Major Public Health Crisis

   A little more than a year ago, the U.S. Surgeon General, C. Everett Coop, warned, "Cigarette smoking is clearly identified as the chief preventable cause of death in our society and the most important public health issue of our times" (emphasis ours). Dr. Coop estimates smoking is responsible for 340,000 deaths annually in the U.S. It is a major factor in the development of many cases of cancer, heart trouble, chronic lung and respiratory diseases and other ailments. Smoking "causes more illness and death than all the other drugs," adds the pamphlet issued by the Surgeon General's office.
   Smoking has been demonstrated to be a serious health threat to more than smokers. Specific studies indicate even nonsmokers who are forced to breathe others' smoke can also suffer damaging health consequences. Such facts should be a powerful motivation to stop.
   Smokers can break themselves of the addictive smoking habit. Every year hundreds of thousands do, but this can be difficult.
   The tough new U.S. antismoking government pamphlet offers hints on quitting the nation's most widespread type of drug dependence.
   It suggests:
    Recognize smoking is a drug dependence that compromises your freedom of choice by its effects on the brain and nervous system.
    Realize quitting for most smokers is rarely an easy accomplishment, but a long-term effort.
    Consider help from a clinic or stop-smoking group.
   You will, however, need to evaluate approaches among various stop smoking systems offered. Help is listed in many telephone books or from health agencies. Detailed plans to help individuals stop smoking are available in virtually every country, many of them free.

You CAN Overcome

   Here are additional suggestions to help those who want to free themselves of this obnoxious and enslaving smoking habit:
    Clearly define and write down your objectives for not smoking. List health, family, financial and
Even though 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.
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 suddenly, but it's presently the most successful way. Find someone to help you and to be a positive support. Commit yourself throwaway and destroy all pipes and tobacco stock. As the Bible says, "make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires" (Rom. 13:14, RSV).
    Avoid compromising situations. Don't let friends, relatives or stressful situations cause you to give in. Experience shows that many former smokers quickly relapse into 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.
    Utilize the power available to you from God! God promises help to 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!."
   Even though 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.
   Editor-in-chief Herbert W. Armstrong, once a light smoker, squarely confronted the question over 50 years ago, approaching the smoking issue with unique insight. He has put it this way to readers:
   "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."
   He rightly concluded that smoking is "a form of self-desire" that is damaging socially and spiritually. This self-desire pulls millions of people into what many authorities call the number one drug addiction problem. We have shown our readers here a way out of this problem. Smoking can be overcome. You can replace this dirty old habit with a new, clean life-style!

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Plain Truth MagazineSeptember 1983Vol 48, No.8