IS SMOKING A SIN?
As an ex-smoker who is a Christian I'll try and address this issue.
I do think a person can be a Christian and a smoker. Otherwise, how can a smoker ever become a Christian? Does a person have to become a non smoker before they become a Christian. Of course not. Can a person give up smoking in an instant, completely and utterly. I've only known one who did, and that was after his medical specialist told him if he didn't he'd be dead in three months. Can a person become a Christian in an instant. Yes. In fact, that's often how it happens. So logically, there must be many Christians around who haven't stopped smoking.
I would say the hardest mental battle I have ever had, was giving up smoking. It was a stressful and "mind time" consuming exercise. It took a good twelve months before I felt I had really shaken the craving. It was also well over a decade after I became a Christian that I blew the addiction away. I used to enjoy having a cigarette, and actually got started because I loved the smell of the smoke when others were puffing away. It was also a peer pressure thing. I had started my first job, the other blokes smoked, and I wanted to be a part of the group. And it was relatively cheap to smoke then. How people can afford to smoke these days is beyond me. In a typical smoker's family, something or someone must be suffering due to dollar loss from cigarettes I reckon.
BUT, I soon knew I was addicted, which bothered me only slightly. After all, I was young, I could afford it, and I would live for ever, which is what all young fellows believe isn't it? However as the years rolled by, more and more evidence surfaced as to the serious health problems caused by smoking, and more people I knew were dying as a result of it. I didn't like the knowledge that I was addicted to cigarettes either. It bugged me that those little white brown ended straws TOLD ME when to smoke THEM and not the other way around. I also began to ponder about how I could authentically encourage someone to become a Christian while fumbling for a relevant Bible verse without burning the page out with my smoldering Marlboro. People who saw me smoking could safely assume I was addicted, just as I did those whom I saw smoking. How could they then take me seriously when I said how victorious and fulfilling the Christian life could be?
I knew that I had to stop. I was also harming my body knowingly, a body that although far from the most attractive walking the planet, was none the less, here by the grace and design of God. I knew the bible says we are to look after our bodies and take care of them, not kill 'em off. It was as if a wall had been put up with a big "NO SMOKING" sign on it, and I knew I couldn't go on and grow as a Christian unless I passed that wall. Unfortunately, I couldn't easily go round the wall. I had to burst through it. The battle began.
There were heavy losses. My will power was run through often. My loved ones took a battering from my tongue. The enemy used mental torture and broke me many times. My dreams darkened to nightmares of cigarettes chasing me down dead end streets. My garden beds became the burial place of many soggy cigarette packets and half smoked "roll your owns", trodden down there after a frantic but secret high speed car ride to the nearest smoke shop. Eventually however, rewarded by that Aussie attitude of never say die and victory no matter what, I was able to walk the streets again without smelling like my socks were on fire.
Victory was sweet and still is, decades later.
Is smoking a sin? I hesitate to use the word "sin" with relation to smoking, but I do think it is offensive in some measure to God, for his children to be addicted to anything and as such it must surely negatively affect the example we might hope to set as Christians. But, I will not judge anyone by whether they smoke or not. Who am I to do so. God is our judge. We all have different roads to walk down, different battles to be won, different rates of growth as people and as Christians. If we ask God to humble us, and let him do so, regardless of the pain that request may result in, He will eventually lead us to deal with any issues in our lives that He thinks may be detrimental to our relationship with him and others. The important thing is to be ready and willing to act on those issues, whatever they may be, when God makes them known to us.