AN AMAZING FACT: It has been discovered there are several factories based in North America that are producing and selling weapons of mass destruction. In case you’re wondering, I’m talking about tobacco and the lethal habit of cigarette smoking. And the saddest part is, this deadly and expensive international health hazard is easily preventable.
Tobacco was once considered a cure for many ailments, including headache, toothache, arthritis, stomachaches, wounds, and bad breath. It was made into a tea and even rolled into pills in order to serve as a medicinal herb. A Spanish doctor, Nicolas Monardes, first described its medicinal potential in a 1577 book called Joyful News out of the New Found World. His views were accepted for more than two centuries.
Every year, four million people die worldwide from smoking-related diseases. That’s approximately one person every 8 seconds. Every minute 10 million cigarettes are sold worldwide; that’s 15 billion cigarettes sold every day. Smoking costs the United States over $150 billion each year in healthcare costs, including $81 billion in productivity losses and over $75 billion in excess medical expenditures. Smoking is directly responsible for 87 percent of lung cancer, and causes most cases of emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Smoking is also a major factor in coronary heart disease and stroke and has been linked to a variety of other health disorders, including infertility and peptic ulcers. Smoking in pregnancy accounts for an estimated 20 to 30 percent of low-birth-weight babies, and some 10 percent of all infant deaths.
It’s estimated that one out of every five teens between 13 and 15 years old smokes. Evidence also indicates that half of the people who start smoking as adolescents will go on to smoke for 15 to 20 years. Yet tobacco companies continue to invest millions of dollars in effective advertising encouraging young people to begin a lifelong addiction to smoking.
Still, the tobacco companies in America continue to manufacture and use these weapons of mass destruction. The greatest irony is that tobacco companies like Philip Morris pretend to discourage people from smoking on one hand while they continue to profit from peddling their deadly poison on the other. They are very much talking from both sides of their mouth. In today’s Key Bible Text, Jesus describes people who give double-talk as hypocrites.
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.Matthew 15:7-8