Cigarettes and church teaching 'excessive use'

I always knew that smoking ‘excessively’ would be a sin. However, this area seems so grey:

  • When do we consider smoking to be excessive? would it depend on the amount smoked (e.g. 1 or 2 packs) or does it depend on one’s individual health? (e.g. someone who has cardiovascular disease and is being warned by the dr. to quit)

  • What about in situations where potentially stronger forms of smoking are involved? For example, going regularly to a hookah lounge where passive smoking is involved and hookah use is assumed to be stronger than ordinary cigarettes.

  • When would smoking be considered grave matter?

Its an addiction - if harm comes to you or another it could fall under the 5th commandment.

Smoking is not rational - everybody knows the truth about it - try to quit .

I’ll add a waste of money and in someways insanity that the person does not try to quit with the information available about the dangers of smoking.

I battle everyday - not to smoke.
You have to be honest with yourself to get over the addiction or you won’t quit.
Anything you are a slave to that is harmful to you and others can be called sin.

As a smoker I would hate this reply - but its the truth.

One day at a time!

Thanks for your response.
For the record I don’t consider myself as addicted. I have hookah once a fortnight at a maximum. I am more curious about the morality.

Scientifically, there is no level of smoke that you can take in that is not in some way harmful. Accordingly I believe an argument can be made that there is no level of smoking that would not, given our present state of knowledge, be considered “excessive”.

The Catechism, compiled in and around 1997, says that smoking is to be done with “temperance”, However, more recent scientific documentation is making inroads on the ethical judgments of the Catholic Church - as seen in a 2004 article in the scholarly Jesuit review La Civilta Cattolica which, while stopping short of branding smoking as per se sinful, declared that smokers cannot damage their health and that of others “without moral responsibility.” (Significant here is that articles in La Civilta Cattolica are prescreened for doctrinal orthodoxy by the Vatican Secretariat of State.)

One might also ask “what level of cutting” would not be considered excessive, or “what level of hitting myself in the head with a ballpeen hammer” would not be considered excessive."

Also this:

CCC 364 The human body shares in the dignity of “the image of God”: it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit:
Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity. Through his very bodily condition he sums up in himself the elements of the material world. Through him they are thus brought to their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise freely given to the Creator. For this reason man may not despise his bodily life. Rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honor since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day.

Drinking alcohol also does a certain degree of damage. Eating junk food likewise. I think the occasional cigar, maybe once every few months, is not in the same ballpark as physically cutting oneself or hitting oneself on the head. Perhaps I’m wrong.

Drinking alcohol in moderation actually has beneficial effects, especially for heart health. Eating junk food does no harm to the people around you (unless you are a projectile eater :slight_smile: ) The occasional cigar has no beneficial health effects, causes those around you to experience second hand smoke, and although not as immediate in effect, is no more beneficial than hitting yourself in the head or “cutting”.

. . . and as one who really enjoyed the occasional Cohiba, I can tell you that I take no pleasure in this.

What about the social benefits? Gentlemen discussing theology over cigars and brandy…in a close well appointed room where no one else will be impacted.

Smoking is a horrible addiction that kills 4 million yearly - 480,000 in the USA - why would you take a chance knowing this?

Its kind of like going to a party on the bad side of town at 3am in the morning and then wondering why you got shot or beat up or even killed. You venture to the bad side of town at 3 am you take the risk that these things might happen.

Famous last words - It can’t happen to me. But it appears that some want justification for smoking not reasons to not smoke.

Smoke up and learn the hard way. :thumbsup:

Or women smoking a Virginia slim while knitting a hat for an orphaned child?:rolleyes:

The good ol boys smoking club argument is silly. I know several guys in a men’s club who do just what you describe. I wouldn’t call them gentlemen.
Rednecks I could count on for bail money maybe, but gentlemen, nope.

There are priests who smoke cigars socially. :shrug:

Just because there are rednecks who join smoking clubs, doesn’t mean there aren’t also true gentlemen who smoke cigars while discussing the finer points of theology and philosophy. Chesterton talks about this sort of thing :D.

But Chesterton lived in an era when the many health issues caused by tobacco smoke were unknown. And even he did try periodically to cut down on smoking as well as on food intake, certainly the latter was a problem - I am not sure if he is the best role model when it comes to self restraint.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say smoking itself is sinful, I think there is still room for prudential judgement. It also seems cigarettes have become quite unfashionable anyway, less than 10% of HS seniors smoke them – but twice that number “vape”, that is, smoke e-cigs. Doesn’t help that e-cigs are openly advertised on billboards, even radio and TV, although traditional cigarettes can’t be. The tobacco industry is far from dead, it’s just adapted.

That was in the past. No definition of a current gentleman would include smoking.
I really find that type of thinking, that smoking anything is somehow sophisticated, to be the definition of outdated thinking.

Does this imply that all smoking is sinful?

It is outdated. Its a romantic notion. I’ve probably had 3 cigars in the past year period - if that…so its not really an overly pressing question… but I like the idea regardless. :shrug:

Speaking up for The Holy Spirit.

Our bodies, we are, a Temple to the Holy Spirit. Therefore we are obligated to our Lord God to treat ourselves as such.

On cigarette smoke and its effects on health.
we know through science:

1.Smoking causes cancer, emphasemyia (sp), and many other smoking related illness.

  1. Second hand cigarette smoke, thats cigarette smoke others breathe in through our cigarette, causes cancer and other health related illness,

  2. We now know that the aromatic molecules of cigarette smoke also contain cancer causing chemicals, and chemicals that cause other health related issues. These aromatic molecules tend to cling to clothing, hair, furniture, upholstery, walls, floors, carpets etc. Indefinately.
    The colouring of these items can change, going a brownish tinge over time.

Point # 3 means your donated baby cradle cap or chemo cap you knit, book you sell as a smoker, your smoking room, your car, nightclub, pub, home, restaurant you smoke that hookah in, will ALL STILL CONTAIN these molecules.

So if you are a smoker, unless you smoke outside well away from anyone, taking in wind drift, you wash your own clothes, linen, hair pre hairdresser, nails pre beautician, …

Dont kid yourself, your actions will be affecting others. Even poor fido and the cat are affected.

I have relatives that smoke. One you can tell she smokes because she smells like it AND she has a smoker’s hoarse voice.

Besides emphysema, lung cancer, throat cancer, mouth cancer and even possibly colon or pancreatic cancer are risks.

I can’t be around smokers for very long…I am sensitive to the smell of smoke.

Smoking, in any amount, is harmful. There is no safe level.

I’m aware of that. But when would it be considered crossing the line to become sinful behaviour? I have energy drinks filled with caffeine and sugar (I’m trying to reduce the amount), I wouldn’t think that any can I might drink leads me to sin.

Who can say when stupidity crosses the line to sinfulness?

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