Kenneth Hirshey
Hannibal, Missouri

"Smoke?" said a man, who stood by the gate of the St. Louis Memorial Stadium, offering free sample cigarettes, as a part of the introduction of a new brand. "No, I never use them, they cause cancer." This was the reply of a gospel preacher, who accompanied me to a St. Louis Cardinal Baseball game recently. I must admit, the quickness of this reply, and it's straight forwardness, was somewhat amusing and gratifying, yet it's import is clearly evident.

Recent research has produced some shocking facts concerning smoking. Every individual who now smokes, or who is considering adoption of the habit, should seriously consider the conclusions drawn from these studies, conducted by the American Cancer Society, American Medical Association, and others. (Should the reader like the exact source of reference materials, I will be glad to furnish same).

1. SMOKING IS AN EXPENSIVE HABIT. In 1956, when 400 billion cigarettes were sold, the taxes on these cigarettes amounted to $1,596,520,000, or about $1.6 billion. In 1965, 9 years later, the taxes amounted to $2.1 billion. In 1956 the average smoking adult smoked 24 cigarettes daily at a cost of $101 per year. Most regular smokers use 2 or 3 times this much, and cost of cigarettes have gone up in the last 9 years.

2. TOBACCO SMOKE IS UNHEALTHY. "One single puff of cigarette smoke contains 15 billion particles of matter," as reported by the Armour Research Foundation of the Illinois Institute of Technology. What is more alarming is that most of these microscopic particles are made up of highly noxious substances, such as nicotine, methyl alcohol, arsenic, ammonia, carbon monoxide, and many other deadly substances. Tobacco smoke is highly irritating and I'm sure each of us have been subjected to it at gatherings where the dense atmosphere of smoke caused eyes to water, nose and throat to burn, and clothes to carry the odor for days. Not only does the smoker inhale these damaging substances, but those of us who breathe this "second hand" smoke must suffer.

Carbon monoxide, one of the poisonous substances, combines with the hemoglobin of red blood cells, lowering the oxygen content of the blood. A carbon monoxide saturation of 15 to 20 percent is commonly fatal. A man who smokes 2 packs of cigarettes per day has a 7% saturation level, according to tests.

Nicotine is one of the quickest and most fatal poisons known to man. One or two drops, or a solution of I part nicotine to 1000 parts solvent, placed on a dog's gum will result in death within 30 seconds.

3. THE TOBACCO LEAF IS HIGHLY POISONOUS. I know a man who chews tobacco. He told me of swallowing, by accident, a chew of tobacco. Within 5 minutes he became violently ill and was rushed to the doctor to pump his stomach. The doctor informed him that had he not arrived so soon, he would likely have died.

Another event, which demonstrates the poisonous nature of tobacco, is the report of J. M. Singleton. His experiment was with a Pit Viper. This snake was, made to strike, several times, a leaf of tobacco wrapped around a small cane. A shred of tobacco was then placed in the snake's mouth, and in five minutes the snake began to show signs of sickness. The snake was dead in 15 minutes.

4. ALL SMOKING SHORTENS LIFE. Cigarette smoking shortens life more than other kinds, but all types of smoking are found damaging. Results of research conducted on 188,000 men between the ages 50 to 70, for a period of 5 years, show death rates 68% higher from all causes, for cigarette smokers, compared to non-smokers. Men who smoked two packs per day have a death rate 123% higher and die 7 years earlier than they would if they did not smoke at all.

Results for specific diseases show death rates of smokers higher. Here are some of these results: Lung Cancer - 1,000%; Coronary attack  50%; Peptic ulcer 116%; Cirrhosis of the liver  93%; Cancer of the pancreas - 50%; Cancer of the kidneys  58%; Cancer of the stomach 61%; bladder cancer - 117%; liver and gallbladder Cancer - 352%.

When men stopped smoking, the death rate dropped! This conclusion was proved by the results of the 5 year study.

5. SMOKING CAUSES HEART DISEASE. Statistics tabulated on 187,000 men, showed that the death rate from heart disease was twice as high among smokers compared to non-smokers. Further, the study showed that the more a man, with heart disease, smokes, the earlier the occurrence of death. In a study by Dr. Sigler, on 1,520 patients with heart disease, 20.2% of the men smokers and 46.5% of the women smokers died before age, 50, but only 6.4% men and 5.6% women non-smokers died before age 50.

6. SMOKING ENCOURAGES HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE. Tobacco causes an increase in pulse rate and quick jump in blood pressure. It also causes the blood to thicken, thus overloading the heart and circulatory system.

7. SMOKING CAUSES CANCER. Probably the area mostly affected is the tender respiratory tract.

Cancer of the "buccal cavity" (mouth) is caused by chewing as well as smoking tobacco. In the USA 19,000 new cases of mouth cancer each year are detected!

So evident is the irritation caused by smoking, that most smokers develop a cough, appropriately named "smokers cough." Smoking has been linked to bronchial cancer and the formation of tumors in other parts of the respiratory tract.

Experts say 1 out of every 10 smokers, who smoke 2 packs of cigarettes a day, will die of lung cancer, and while 1 out of every 275 non-smokers run that risk. It is the major cause of cancer of the lung! In the U. S. A. there are over 35,000 new cases every year! One study showed rate of death, per 100,000, from lung cancer at 227 for two pack a day smokers, and for over two packs per day the rate of death was 460, while the rate of death for non-smokers was 5.

8. TOBACCO DAMAGES THE NERVOUS SYSTEM. Smoking decreases mental and muscular efficiency. It may also damage optic nerve cells. One eye specialist found that over a 14 year period, 1% of all his patients suffered from Tobacco Amblyopia (an optic nerve disease, caused only by tobacco, resulting in blindness). The total number of patients going blind was 1,100!


Many more statistics are available showing the effect of tobacco upon those who use it, yet we see the consumption of this poisonous substance increasing year by year. Many members of the church smoke, spending hundreds of dollars each year on tobacco. They also spend much on medical bills due to sickness caused by the use of tobacco. It shortens their life span and takes away their strength and good health, limiting their usefulness to the Lord.

Smoking, or the use of tobacco, is not mentioned in the New Testament, but the principles are laid down from which the conclusion is inescapable.

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service" (Romans 12:1).

"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are" (I Corinthians 3:16, 17).

"What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's (I Cor. 6:19, 20).

"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil" 0 Thessalonians 5:21, 22).

"As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, be ye holy; for I am holy" (I Peter 1:14-16).

Individuals give various reasons for smoking, but social and recreational reasons are most common. "I smoke to be sociable" or "I smoke because I enjoy smoking," are usually the response when one asks a smoker, "Why do you smoke?" I have not heard anyone attempt to justify smoking on a scriptural basis.

It has been said, "The best way to stop smoking is to stop." If you are a smoker, the next time you are offered a smoke, or the next time you reach for one, why not say, "No, I never use them, they cause cancer."

May 1969