Is smoking cigarettes a moral issue? If one were to rate moral problems of the day would smoking cigarettes even end up on the list? I ask these questions, because if we listen to mainstream culture it is the one issue that they are more than willing to warn kids of the danger of How Do I Get My Boyfriend Back Fast . It can be rather annoying that we teach kids not to smoke, and display countless graphic pictures to warn them of the health problems associated with it, but when the abortion debate comes up, mainstream culture does everything to discourage them finding out the facts. Obviously the smoking issue is nowhere near the abortion debate in terms of gravity, but that leads me to ask; how serious is it?
From a personal standpoint I have never been a fan of smoking. I was blessed to have good friends and grew up in a place where smoking had become socially unacceptable. When I was a teenager I thought I was “Miss- all-knowing” on the subject, and never failed to engage others in a debate surrounding the facts. I will never forget the day I was visiting a well-known Catholic college, and ended up sitting down to a meal with a bunch of seniors. Somehow the topics turned to smoking, and before we knew it we were engaged in a solid debate. More than one of us was smoking in a totally different sense of the word after that!
So let’s look at some of the facts…
-Kids are picking up smoking at the alarming rate of 3,000 a day.
-Smoking causes 30% of all cancer deaths in the US, mostly lung cancer.
-It can cause birth defects, and stillborn births.
-It causes heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the US.
And the list goes on and on…
There is no debate that it is bad for our health, but what about our spiritual lives? Is smoking tobacco sinful? The Catechism of the Catholic Church does not forbid smoking tobacco, but it does state that Christians should avoid using it to excess. Here is the direct quote from the Catechism.
“The virtue of temperance disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine. Those incur grave guilt who, by drunkenness or a love of speed, endanger their own and others’ safety on the road, at sea, or in the air”.
(CCC 2290; emphasis in original).
Then there is this wonderful quote from the YOUCat, question 389:
“Every form of a person’s dependence on legal substances (alcohol, medication, tobacco) and even more so on illegal drugs is an exchange of freedom for slavery; it damages the health and life of the person concerned and does great harm to the people around him. Every time a person loses or forgets himself by becoming intoxicated, which can also include excessive eating and drinking, indulgence in sexual activity, or speeding with an automobile, he loses some of his human dignity and freedom and therefore sins against God. This should be distinguished from the reasonable, conscious, and moderate use of enjoyable things.”
My final thought on the matter is the view Mother Elvira (The founder of Comunita Cenacolo, a rehab place for young people) takes. She teaches the young people under her care that smoking is simply a sign that you are stepping in the wrong direction. It is an exchange of freedom for slavery.
So what are your thoughts? I would love to know what the young adults of the world are thinking on this matter. Post away in the comment box!