Rav Avigdor Miller on Smoking

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Q: 
The Rav has spoken forcefully about the issur of smoking. If you are right, why don’t we find the Gedolim issuing an issur for Yeshiva bochurim to smoke?

A:
The answer is that we don’t need the Gedolim for this. It’s in the Torah itself – ושמרתם את נפשותיכם – and it’s an application of common sense. The Gedolim are not scientists. They cannot prove that smoking is harmful. And they don’t have to. If on the package of the cigarettes itself, it says that the Surgeon General is warning you that cigarette smoking is dangerous for your health,  and it even enumerates sicknesses that come from smoking then you’re michuyav to understand that on your own. It’s common sense.

The Gedolim will teach you about the Torah responsibilty, the chiyuv, to take care of your health. But we sometimes know more about the details because we can read the cigarette package. Maybe some Gedolim can’t even read English. We can read, and that’s what it says on the cigarette package,  so we have to speak up and say that smoking is a chet. Anybody that smokes today should know that there is no longer the heter of שומר פתאים השם, that Hashem watches over the ones who are unaware. He’s not a פתי – he’s a rasha. You’re a choiteh gomur if you smoke today.
TAPE # E-248 (December 2000)