Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 8, 1968

Marlboro — Ugh! Country

B.E. Russell

In the past, dope addiction, suicide and murder have been unsavory associations of the underworld, and with those who care little for their eternal destiny only, but mercenary tobacco processors with their subtle and misleading advertising have changed all this. Now members of the Lord's church have joined these ranks and have become addicted to narcotics and are committing 'harikari.' We may rationalize, excuse ourselves and try to claim cigarettes are as harmless as coffee and other stimulants; and we may even become offended if accused of being "hooked" with the habit — but I don't believe we are deluding anyone but ourselves when we try to claim that both ordinary logic, and divine commands do not condemn our addiction.

Most of us have a long list of friends who have related their doctor's ultimatum — "either give up smoking — or just another name in the obituary column, just another 'mute customer' of the undertaker.' Well just MAYBE the doctors COULD be wrong — but who wants to gamble his life that he is? The nicotine in cigarettes is POISON — so poison that 50 milligrams of it will kill a human being, and there is enough of it in all the cigarettes the citizens of our nation smoke annually, to kill 1,000 times the number of people that are in our entire country, if administered into their veins.

Occasionally we read of a husband, or wife dosing out small portions of poison to a mate, which results in death. THIS is catalogued as "MURDER!" Now, when we deliberately inject periodic doses of poisonous nicotine into our own bodies, and we die from it - WHAT IS THIS BUT "SUICIDE?" When nicotine is a narcotic drug, how can one having the habit of smoking, look down his nose at one addicted to heroin? How much better are we, who are also addicted to a drug? Are we not also "drug addict?" If not why not?

Who incriminates cigarette smoking? Athletes who are honest with themselves — all surgeons who have studied the causal reasons for cancer — statisticians who estimate life expectancy, all condemn it, and I believe God also condemns it in His word.

If one has any ambition to become a professional athlete, he should listen to the plea of Gene Tunney, one time heavy weight boxing champion of the world: "I can bluntly say that few things could be worse for physical fitness than promoting the cigarette habit;" to Knute Rockne, former famed coach of Notre Dame, who thoroughly condemned it — and to baseball's Ty Cobb, who lashed out at it in these words: "Cigarette smoking stupifies the brain, saps vitality, undermines health and weakens moral fibre."

If you don't want to die prematurely, listen to the warning of Doctor Raymond Pearl of the School of Hygiene and Public Health of John Hopkins University: "At age 45 there are twice as many deaths among smokers than among nonsmokers." The non-user of tobacco at age 30 has a life expectancy of 38 years — the heavy smokers cannot reasonably expect to live more than 271/2 years." Also: "94.1% of all the victims of 'lung cancer are cigarette smokers." Isn't 10 to 12 years of your life too high a price to pay for the dubious pleasure of smoking?

Most intelligent people recognize the danger of such smoking to their life, but most important, too few recognize it as hazardous to the welfare of their souls. God has clearly condemned all who "walk after the flesh" (Rom. 8:1) and in I Tim. 5:22 has told us just as clearly to "keep thyself pure." Few will deny that catering to their "nicotine fits" is 'walking, after the flesh', and who will say that one can keep himself "pure" and continually inject poison into the body — (the temple of the Holy Spirit) when his fleshly appetite dictates!

No 'Marlboro-ugh Country' is not always the refreshing picture of clean rugged cowboys, and pretty, young and healthy girls riding through beautiful western scenery, we see on TV. Too often it is "Cancer Country." Too often the picture is one of ghastly biological specimens with voiceless gaping holes, which was their throats, cut away because of cancer, and one of black charred lungs which can no longer function properly and sustain life, in hospitals all over the country. Nor do these hapless victims ride through beautiful scenery on horses, sport cars or helicopters, but are pushed on wheeled tables through horrible nightmares of agony with a background of sounds of screams and smells of ether, instead of peaceful music, and to many, it is their last ride anywhere — except to the morgue!

We plead with all those who are "hooked" with this killing habit, to stop smoking before your life is cut off when you would normally have many years left to serve the Lord; and finally to forfeit your eternal bliss for walking after the flesh and deliberately profaning the 'temple of God.'

3000 S. Lynhurst Dr., Indianapolis, Indiana 46241