Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Where Cigarettes Came From

If you've never heard of James Buchanan Duke (pictured right), you're about to.

Duke is considered the father of the cigarette, and some consider him ultimately responsible for the millions of deaths since then from lung cancer, emphysema and other smoking-related illnesses.

The BBC has published this little history piece on Duke and the development of the cigarette. I found it very interesting.

I am not a fan of smoking, although I am a rarity among conservative Christians in that I don't think it to be inherently a sin. My dislike of it centers on the fact that most of the men on my father's side of the family (including my father and grandfather) died of emphysema. Two aunts on Dad's side died of lung and/or breast cancer. They all smoked like chimneys, except for Grampaw, who gave up smoking in middle-age, but kept up with chewing tobacco. Yuck.

And it stinks for the most part. The one thing that might be easy for me to do is smoke a pipe, because I do like the smell of some pipe tobaccos. However, with my family history, it would be stupid.

Back to the sin issue for a moment. It could be argued (and many do) that a Christian's body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and you shouldn't do things that will potentially harm your body. Both are true, but if we're going to be legalistic, one shouldn't eat like a glutton either. One shouldn't participate in daredevil sports where you risk getting killed. It could be argued that God didn't give you your life to throw away. Smoking is not addressed directly in the Bible unlike drinking alcohol, and in the case of alcohol, drunkenness is what is condemned as sin, not the alcoholic beverage itself. And this subject has been debated ad infinitum ad nauseum in Christian circles, and I have no desire to argue it here. I don't want to go beyond Scripture, and Scripture does condemn drunkenness. So don't get drunk.

I would also recommend—for health's sake and the comfort of others—that you shouldn't smoke. I've watched the slow death of loved ones personally, and have been there for their final moments. It isn't pretty. It's awful. You never get the mental image out of your head. Why go there if you don't have to go there. Stay away from the darned things.

You'll breathe better and you'll smell better.

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