Everybody now knows that smoking hurts the smoker. One government official has called it "slow motion suicide." Now new facts have come to light. Smoking does more harm than people suppose!
IS THERE a smoker anywhere who doesn't know smoking causes him terrible physical harm? Widespread health warnings about smoking have caused the proportion of smokers in the population to go down. Smokers in the U.S. now number around 35 percent. And yet these 35 percent remain smokers even after all the warnings! It seems that some people just don't care about their health. The temporary pleasure they get from smoking is worth more to them than the risk of heart attack, lung cancer, bladder cancer or emphysema. Smoking is wrong because of what it does to the smoker. It hurts him — and it reinforces wrong traits of character. Years ago, editor Herbert W. Armstrong squarely confronted the problem of smoking from the standpoint of God's law: "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." Thus he concluded that smoking was "a form of self-desire, breaking — at least in some measure — the Tenth Commandment!" Now it comes to light that smoking breaks not only the Tenth Commandment against lust — it also breaks the Sixth Commandment against harming your neighbor! Scientific studies have now revealed that smoking in the presence of others is an aggressive, hostile, poisonous act! It is literally poisoning someone else. The apostle Paul said that "Love worketh no ill to his neighbour" (Romans 13:10). As we shall now see, smoking works grievous ill to its neighbor! Nicotine, one of the more harmful substances in tobacco smoke, is used commercially as a weed killer. Smokers have voluntarily chosen to expose their own bodies to this poison. And yet, according to the British medical journal Lancet, when 27 nonsmokers were shut in an unventilated room with a group of heavy smokers for a little more than an hour, the nonsmokers picked up significant amounts of nicotine in their blood and urine. A nonsmoker does not smoke for a reason — he wants to remain healthy. And yet when a nonsmoker has to breathe the cast-off smoke of someone else's burning cigarette, it is just the same as smoking. According to the World Health Organization, a nonsmoker who spends one hour in a smoke-filled room inhales so much nicotine and carbon monoxide (which prevents the blood from receiving oxygen) that it is just as if he had smoked one cigarette! Perhaps many smokers do not fully realize that their cast-off smoke is actually harming others. One prosmoking newspaper columnist, Jeffrey Hart, surveying recent no-smoking-in-public-places laws asked: "What's going on? I think we can forget about the health aspect." Oh no we can't! Heart disease, lung cancer, emphysema and birth defects are all caused by smoking and those who smoke in the presence of others are subjecting them to these deadly risks. How many smokers realize that smoke from a burning cigarette contains ingredients which sound as if they were taken from a chemical warfare arsenal?*
The tobacco companies would have you believe that cast-off (or sidestream as it is sometimes called) smoke is just an annoyance, like bad breath or barking dogs. Ridiculous. Twice as much respiratory illness occurs in children of smoking parents as nonsmoking parents. Studies on animals show that rabbits exposed to cast-off smoke from 20 cigarettes a day for two to five years developed emphysema. Rats exposed to cast-off smoke for 45 minutes a day for two to six months developed twice the number of tumors as nonexposed rats. According to Dr. Raymond Slavin of St. Louis University and the American Academy of Allergy, "There is no question that nonsmokers can develop toxic levels of carbon monoxide in smoke-filled rooms." According to a recent study by researchers at the University of California at San Diego, castoff smoke damages the small airways or alveolar sacs of the lung. These sacs are responsible for putting oxygen into the bloodstream. The researchers found that pollutants in cast-off smoke irritate and cut these sacs' delicate membranes. Some people, of course, don't need scientific studies to know that cast-off smoke makes them ill. A former accounting clerk at an Air Force base in Texas, for example, had to quit her job because cigarette smoke gave her sore throat, laryngitis, hearing problems, nosebleeds and sinus infections.
Nonsmokers Get It Worse
Smokers not only subject others to the same health risks they subject themselves to, but they actually subject those around them to worse risks. Cast-off smoke contains twice as much tar and nicotine, three times as much of a certain kind of benozopyrene (a suspected cancer agent), five times as much carbon monoxide (which robs the blood of life-giving oxygen), and 46 times as much ammonia as the smoke the smoker inhales! (according to the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare). Then there's cadmium. No matter how little you inhale, cadmium stays in your lungs forever! It accumulates in the lungs, liver and kidneys. Emphysema victims have excess levels of cadmium. According to the Lung Association, some "research has shown that there is even more cadmium in the smoke that drifts off the burning end of the cigarette than in the drag the smoker inhales." And a recent study conducted by the British government shows that a nonsmoker receives a larger dose of tar and nicotine than the smoker himself.
Nonsmokers Strike Back
Many countries have adopted antismoking laws over the past decade. Most of these laws merely require health warnings on cigarette packs and place restrictions on advertising. In some places, however, the right of the nonsmoker to breathe non cigarette-polluted air is being respected: In West Germany two states try to separate smoking from nonsmoking public employees. In Argentina, there are smoking bans in public transportation, as there are in Great Britain. In Canada, nonsmokers' rights groups are lobbying for nonsmoking areas in public transportation, restaurants, public meeting places and food stores. In the United States, Arizona became the first state to ban smoking in public areas, specifically elevators, indoor theaters, libraries, art museums, concert halls and buses. The ban also includes school buildings, waiting rooms, restrooms, lobbies and hallways of health care facilities. Later Minnesota enacted its own clean-air act, which requires a smoke-free area in all. public places. At last count, 33 states and 225 cities in the United States have passed some kind of law restricting smoking to separate areas. The courts have also, albeit reluctantly and slowly, begun to realize that smoking in the presence of a nonsmoker is a kind of assault and battery. A New Jersey Superior Court has ordered one public utility to prohibit smoking in an office where one of the employees suffers nausea, vomiting and eye irritation from prolonged daily exposure. In Los Angeles, a school district employee was able to collect unemployment insurance after he quit his job because he had to sit between two smokers, aggravating a bronchial condition. Such laws and court actions are hardly extreme, nor do they stem, as some smokers claim, because nonsmokers can't stand to see smokers enjoying themselves. By God's civil law given to ancient Israel, assault and battery — which is what smoking in the presence of others really is — was severely condemned. "Cursed be he that smiteth his neighbour secretly" (Deuteronomy 27:24). Just because you don't physically hit someone doesn't mean you can't "smite" them another way.
What Is a Nonsmoker to Do?
Most of those who will read this article will be nonsmokers who are, in a sense, the victims of hostile, aggressive acts. What to do? Surprisingly, many smokers do not realize just how offensive — how harmful-smoking is. Smokers develop a tolerance for carbon monoxide — so they don't suffer the same discomfort that nonsmokers do. But as a rule of thumb, about 50 percent of smokers, if you ask them politely, will douse their burning weed as a matter of common courtesy. Then there are the difficult situations. A request not to smoke at work in the office or shop is a request not just to give up smoking for the moment — but for an indefinite period. It probably won't be honored. The best solution in such situations is to go to the one in authority and ask him or her to enforce a no-smoking rule. This may not exactly endear you to your smoking co-workers, but then the crucial choice is between your health and their filthy habit. The Bible, of course, has much to say about not returning evil for evil. But this does not mean you have to sit idly by while somebody is in the process of poisoning you. If the person in charge won't come to your aid, you might want to purchase a fan that could blow the smoke away. In places that you visit frequently, you may want to encourage the management to set aside a nonsmoking section. Of course, many smokers, who don't care much for their own health, can hardly be expected to care much for yours. Small battery-operated fans are useful, if you can obtain one. Spraying an aerosol air freshener in the direction of the foul stench also helps — though it's not as practical. The easiest and most efficient method of self-defense is... chew garlic. The garlic itself will help protect your lungs against pollution, and the smoker near you may get the point that he's being profoundly offensive.
A Clean Air World
Unfortunately, none of the above suggestions (the more aggressive ways of coping with smokers were omitted) will always work, and almost all of them seem of dubious practicality. Particularly in a shop or factory situation, there isn't much a nonsmoker is going to be able to do short of convincing management of his plight or quitting. While cast-off smoke is not one of the absolute worst of the evils in this present evil world (yet consider lung cancer!), it is still an evil. It may seem at the moment a comparatively insignificant matter, but one of the attractions of God's soon coming World Tomorrow is that it will be a world free of cigarette smoke! No longer will hapless nonsmokers have to have their lung tissue destroyed by some person who couldn't care less about what he does to his own or anyone else's health. It may be a small thing, but it is one of the best contrasts between God's way of give and the devil's way of get. Smoking around others is a perfect example of why the world's way of "get" leads to dire, terrible results. Both the smoker and those around him have to suffer a high risk of lung disease — including cancer — just so the smoker can continue his self-indulgence, without thought for the welfare of others. In the World Tomorrow, when God intervenes in world affairs to reestablish His Government over the earth, people will learn a different attitude. They will be concerned for their neighbor's air just as much as they will be concerned for their own desires. It will be a time when people will breathe free. God speed that day!