What is the Christian view of smoking? Is smoking a sin?
The Bible never directly mentions smoking. There are principles, however, that definitely apply to smoking. First, the Bible commands us not to allow our bodies to become “mastered” by anything. “Everything is permissible for me”but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me”but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12). Smoking is undeniably strongly addictive. Later in the same passage we are told, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Smoking is undoubtedly very bad for your health. Smoking has been proven to damage the lungs and the heart.
Can smoking be considered “beneficial” (1 Corinthians 6:12)? Can it be said that smoking is truly honoring God with your body (1 Corinthians 6:20)? Can a person honestly smoke “for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31)? We believe that the answer to these three questions is a resounding “no.” As a result, we believe that smoking is a sin and therefore should not be practiced by followers of Jesus Christ.
Some argue against this view by pointing to the fact that many people eat unhealthy foods, which can be just as addicting and just as bad for the body. As an example, many people are so helplessly addicted to caffeine that they cannot function without their first cup of coffee in the morning. While this is true, how does that make smoking right? It is our contention that Christians should avoid gluttony and excessively unhealthy eating. Yes, Christians are often hypocritical by condemning one sin and condoning another, but, again, this does not make smoking honoring to God.
Another argument against this view of smoking is that many godly men have been smokers, such as the famous British preacher C.H. Spurgeon, who was known to smoke cigars. Again, we do not believe this argument holds any weight. We believe Spurgeon was wrong for smoking. Was he otherwise a godly man and fantastic teacher of God’s Word? Absolutely! Does that make all of his actions and habits honoring to God? No.
In stating that smoking is a sin, we are not stating that all smokers are unsaved. There are many true believers in Jesus Christ who smoke. Smoking does not prevent a person from being saved. Nor does it cause a person to lose salvation. Smoking is no less forgivable than any other sin, whether for a person becoming a Christian or a Christian confessing his/her sin to God (1 John 1:9). At the same time, we firmly believe that smoking is a sin that should be forsaken and, with God’s help, overcome.