"Religion of the Second Mile"

James Sanders
Greencastle, Indiana

"I'd walk-a mile for a Camel" or so says an oft heard cigarette advertisement. But it seems though just about everyone knows otherwise (the tobacco industry notwithstanding). Any smoker in a good "nicotine fit" would walk much farther than a mile for any cigarette!

This brings to mind the words of Paul, "All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any" (I Cor. 6:12). If because of nothing else, smoking stands condemned because it enslaves the user; the smoker is "brought under the power of" his habit. Tobacco reigns as Master and man is sold in the tobacco chains of nicotine slavery. Smoking is truly a religion of the second mile (Matt. 5:39-41).

"I can quit anytime I want to, cries the smoker. In one sense the tobacco user is right; he can quit anytime he really wants to. But breaking the tobacco chain is not an easy matter. Tobacco King is a ruthless tyrant who does not easily free his subjects. Yet everyone who smokes can quit; it's a matter of mere will power and determination.

But usually the smoker who says, "I can quit anytime I want to" means something quite different. Quitting is really the furtherest thing from his mind. He's trying to deny the "death grip" Of tobacco; he means to say that he is the master of the cigarette and it is not the other way around. But whom is he fooling? Even the tobacco industry knows better; they say, "You'd walk a mile for a cigarette."

To paraphrase another tobacco advertisement, "Are you smoking more now but enjoying it less?" Then quit and really be satisfied!

August 26, 1971