You Can Break Free!
“THE easiest thing I ever did.” That’s how Mark Twain, the famous writer, described giving up smoking. “I ought to know,” he added, “I’ve done it a thousand times.”
Yes, the real challenge is not in stopping, it’s in not starting again. Millions of smokers quit—perhaps for a day, or even a week or several months—but then they start again. Overcoming physical dependence on nicotine often is not the hardest battle—it’s resisting the strong craving for another cigarette.
Yet, if you really want to, you can break free from the tobacco habit. The proof? A whole society of people, Jehovah’s Witnesses, are tobacco free. But, as members of the general population, they were not always that way.
In many countries a third or more of adults smoke. That would indicate that about one third of the more than 2,000,000 Witnesses once smoked. How did these hundreds of thousands of persons break free from smoking when they became Witnesses?
Knowledge and a Decision
It is as Dr. Charles F. Tate explained in American Medical News: “The decision has to be made deep inside. Once this decision is made, the biggest part of the battle is over.” In other words, you really have to want to quit. What can provide this determination?
Knowledge can. But what knowledge? Well, for many it is knowledge that smoking can kill. “Patient after patient comes in to see the result of an x-ray,” Dr. Tate said. “I show them an x-ray with a tumor. They ask if it’s cancer. I have to confirm their suspicion and they never want to see another cigaret again.”
On becoming Jehovah’s Witnesses, however, it is not simply the knowledge that smoking can kill that causes persons to quit. Rather, it is knowledge about Jehovah God—that, as the Bible says, “it is he that has made us.” (Ps. 100:3) Knowing that to defile their bodies is not pleasing to the One who created them, the Witnesses refrain from smoking.—2 Cor. 7:1.
Also vital to their firm decision not to smoke is the knowledge that it harms others. Not only do children pick up this deadly habit from older ones, but the smoke itself can contribute to the early death of others. Knowledge of these things makes it impossible for a true Christian to smoke. So in obedience to God’s law, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” all smokers who become Jehovah’s Witnesses stop smoking.—Matt. 22:39.
This is not to say that quitting is always easy for those who become Witnesses. It is pure agony for some—the hardest thing in life they have ever done. But they have stopped, with help. And so can you.
Help That Is Needed
“Anti-smoking remedies,” says New Scientist, “are rapidly becoming as potentially profitable a venture as slimming aids.” Yet, after a review of the various therapies and programs, this journal concludes: “Without exception, the aids currently on the market offer little in the way of real help to the smoker.” Antismoking chemical preparations evidently have limited, if any, value.
The particular benefit of antismoking aids or programs is to provide support, something to give persons confidence, a system to believe in. Many smokers fail to quit because they are not convinced they really can. So what they need is help to believe they can succeed. Sympathetic friends are invaluable, especially those who themselves have quit and thus can reaffirm that it is possible. Smokers who have become Jehovah’s Witnesses received this kind of help to quit.
But what is especially needed to stop smoking is God’s help. The apostle Paul truthfully said: “For all things I have strength by virtue of him who imparts power to me.” (Phil. 4:13) A three-to-four-pack-a-day smoker—a Brooklyn, New York, housewife—told how she was able to keep her decision to quit smoking:
“My hands shook. I cried almost constantly. I was sick; the craving was agonizing. But I had made up my mind, and with Jehovah’s help I stuck to it. I am now convinced that persons who do not succeed just do not really desire to give it up. They still love smoking more than they love Jehovah.”
Here is a key to breaking free—it is a genuine desire to please God. Smoking can bring pleasure, as can marijuana use, promiscuous sex and other illicit behavior. So as one smoker, who had a hard time quitting, said: “Eventually I acknowledged in prayer to Jehovah that I really did enjoy smoking, but that I wanted to give it up to please him. . . . I finally broke free from the habit.”
You, too, can break free. If your desire is to please God, write the publishers of Awake! and they will be happy to send to your home, free of charge, a qualified minister who will provide you with Scriptural information and the kind of moral support that has helped so many to stop smoking.
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Millions of persons have broken free from smoking