Is Smoking and Drinking a sin?

What is the Catholic position on smoking and drinking? Is it a sin? Many people point to this Scripture to say smoking and drinking are not allowed to a Christian:

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body,” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

Personally, I don’t agree that one should smoke and drink.

I think alot has to do with moderation and current scientific or health knowledge.

Drinking - I’m a non drinker, but I think one can find scriptural support for moderate drinking. There are also some health benefits. Excessive drinking is another matter.

Smoking - I don’t smoke either. And the current health position would be against it. But in generations past, I believe that even popular Protestant divines/theologians smoked: pipes, cigars, etc. And I think that past medical thought was that smoking did no damage or was even healthful! If one were a light smoker doing minimal damage to the body, that might not run afoul of scripture.

But as for the body being the temple of the Holy Spirit, what about our national obesity epidemic? Would not being fat, out-of-shape and in poor health be a similar sin?

Thankfully I recently got back into shape: Male - 55 - 5’ 10" - 164.6 lbs this morning*- lots of jogging, push-ups, pull-ups, etc. I’d describe myself as “supercharged.”

  • Down from 200+ lbs last August

Fr. Corapi said something to convince me that my smoking is wrong. So I am going to try and quit February 6.

Drinking I believe is a moderation thing though.

I come from a German Catholic background in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Every parish festival in the area is packed with beer, metts and brats (that’s the sausage not the kids).


Eating excessively is a sin - it is one of the 7 deadly sins.

Jesus would not have changed water to wine at Cana if it had been a sin to drink.

Despite the current nazi like propaganda imposed upon us all, neither smoking, eating or drinking in moderation are sins. God has given us all things richly to enjoy. Catholics are not puritans.

“Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, There’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!” -Hilaire Belloc

We’re not Muslims or Pharisees, either.

I know several priests who are chain smokers, not mention lovers of wine and the frequent nightcap.

Excessive smoking and Excessive drinking are sins, but in moderation smoking and drinking is allowed.
I don’t see why you think drinking should not be allowed. Jesus (who is God) drank wine. Are you implying Jesus sinned?

That was my thought. Anyone who thinks drinking alcohol is a sin is effectively a heretic, though most of them through ignorance rather than a conscious choice. This does not include people who choose not to drink alcohol, as that’s a perfectly valid choice and in some people’s case is better. John the Baptist was tee-total, so it’s clearly not wrong if it’s a personal choice. Also to advise against drinking alcohol is not wrong in and of itself as long as you don’t say that drinking any alcohol is a sin. Also needs to be balanced against the fact that drunkenness is sinful.

Smoking is not sinful, but not something I’d encourage either, though it can turn into something sinful if you’re so addicted you put it above God and other people. I do find it ironic that evangelicals who claim to only follow laws in the Bible (at least when contraception or another Church teaching they want to break comes up) are usually very anti-smoking, even though the Bible never condemns it.

Maybe my attitude to these things is different due to being European as opposed to American, as to me the idea of even evangelicals opposing alcohol drinking is strange. Though in the UK there is a large anti-smoking movement among heathens who will happily gets horribly drunk to the point of throwing up and having no control of what they do, and yet support banning of smoking, which is less harmful.

For the record I’m a non-smoker and won’t drink more than a couple of alcoholic drinks in a night (maybe 5 units worth, not sure if you use them in the USA).

Also of note is: Sirach 31:27: ‘Wine is very life to human beings if taken in moderation. What is life to one who is without wine? It exists to make people happy.’

jesus said "its not what goes in us , its what comes out of us "

It’s wrong to drink to the point that I lose self-control and would stick to one or two drinks if I was going out. In certain times in history, the water was unclean or not widely available so people drank more alcohol, they used to drink beer over here in Britain. I suppose a couple of cigarettes also would not be a massive sin although I would avoid smoking as it’s also addictive. I still think drinking and smoking too much are probably venial but if it’s to the point that they are endangering your life they may constitute drug abuse which has been defined as mortal sin by the Pope last year I think.

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