How do I know how to judge tobacco use as excessive, thus resulting in grave sin?
It’s one of those things where addiction can mean reduced culpability.
I think we should consider a number of factors. Among them might be:
Cost. Can I afford to purchase these products and still afford the various necessities of life? These need not be strict necessities such as food. If you really had to choose between buying a book for your child, which may be healthy and good for the child, or buying a pack of smokes, it might be time to reconsider the smokes.
Health. Do I detect a heavy toll on my health? This need not be an actual disease caused or exacerbated by tobacco use. If it keeps you from doing healthy things you want or need to do, such as going on long walks outdoors with your kids, you might take that into consideration.
Availability to others. Does this pull me away from other people, especially family members, at times when my presence is needed or reasonably requested?
Damage to property/environment. Does my tobacco use often unnecessarily damage the property or environment of others, or even myself? Do I throw butts on the ground? Have I accidentally started fires? Have I seriously damaged the resale value of a car or house, taking a toll on family finances larger than the cost of the tobacco products themselves?
I don’t think this list is exhaustive, and clearly some of these questions concern degrees rather than simple yes and no answers. These are just some of the things I think we might weigh in our personal discernment?