Isn't Smoking Bad For You?
Cigar smoking isn't good for you. Don't let your friendly neighborhood cigar aficianado tell you otherwise. Like many other things we partake of in this life there is a real risk associated with smoking cigars. While studies have shown that cigar smoking (without inhaling) is much less likely to cause various cancers, there is still a risk. So let me go on record as saying smoking, in all its forms, is unhealthy. It's bad for you. People can die from it.
When some people ask about or point out the health risks of cigars they are often implying that the potential danger of smoking makes it inappropriate, if not sinful. So let's broaden our scope and consider an even greater health risk to help us think through the issue: chicken wings. Oh yes, chicken wings pose a very serious problem for people who want to take care of their bodies. Hyperbole aside, the truth is far more people will die this year from poor diet and related problems than from smoking in all its forms. In fact, obesity is now beating cigarettes as the greater health risk today. Let that sink in. Nitrate filled Hotdogs, cancer causing microwave popcorn, fatty fried chicken, artery clogging Fettuccine Alfredo, sugar saturated soda, and all things fast-food abound with significant health risks. These risks, though even greater than smoking, are seen as acceptable by the vast majority of people. Of course pitting one risk against another isn't really helpful, so let me get to the point.
The Reality of Risk
Really, we are dealing with the issue of risk. Is risk wrong? Skydiving is potentially deadly. Spelunking and mountain climbing are also very risky. Should the Christian refrain from such activities knowing the possibility of life abruptly coming to an end?
And it's not just recreation and athletics that brings risk. Some vocations are very dangerous. Commercial fisherman, loggers, aircraft pilots, and steel workers take greater risks than even firefighters when they clock in. How should a Christian evaluate the risks involved in their jobs? Beyond that, every-day life abounds with risks all men and women take to varying degrees.
I don't have all the answers here, but let me say two things. One, folly is wrong, risk is not. Folly hides from truth, does not heed warnings, and ignores danger. Risk is not sinful, but must be weighed responsibly and managed carefully. In vocation and recreation this means practice, preparedness, and training. With diet (or smoking) it means self-control.
Donuts are bad for me. I would like to eat donuts every day. I sometimes wonder if there will be donuts in the new heavens and earth, and then, how many will I be able to eat? But knowing the health risks in this life I choose to eat my donuts only occasionally. I am not crazy enough to give up such an earthy delight. Cigars are bad for me. I chose not to inhale and remain self-controlled in my enjoyment of them. I know the risks, and I believe the enjoyment of a cigar is worth it.
We should take our health seriously. The bodies we have are given to us by our Maker. He wants us to use them faithfully and fruitfully, enjoying his creation with thoughtfulness and care. Some of what we enjoy is risky, and we should pursue wisdom in the risks we take. Concerning cigars, self-control is a key aspect. But there's much more to be said.
In the next post I'll deal with a common Biblical arguments many have made against cigar smoking. To join the conversation leave your comments or questions on Facebook, Twitter, or IG with the hashtag #cigarQ4joe. I'll be answering those questions in the final post this week.