News Release

“World No Tobacco Day” and the Word of Wisdom


Tobacco kills more than 7 million people each year. Of these deaths, more than 6 million are the direct result of smoking, while almost 1 million are from exposure to second-hand smoke. Tobacco use eventually kills up to half of the 1.1 billion smokers in the world.

These facts have led the World Health Organization (WHO) to call the tobacco epidemic “one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced.” ( The member states of the World Health Organization created World No Tobacco Day in 1987, and it is commemorated around the world every year on May 31.


Europeans first brought tobacco back from the Americas in about 1528. It took more than 400 years, until the middle of the twentieth century, for the public to realize just how harmful it was. Scientists now know that there are more than 4000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, of which at least 250 are known to be harmful and more than 50 are known to cause cancer.

However, this research had not been done in 1833, when Joseph Smith, the first prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, received a revelation known as the Word of Wisdom. This revelation revealed that tobacco and alcoholic drinks are harmful to the body. Members of the Church also abstain from drinking tea and coffee. Today leaders of the Church strenuously warn that the use of illegal drugs and abuse of prescription drugs are destructive both physically and spiritually.


The Word of Wisdom also advocates the use of fruits, vegetables, and grains. Meat is to be used sparingly. The revelation promises that those who obey this health code will receive health and wisdom. They will be able to “run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.” (Doctrine and Covenants, Section 89.) This emphasis on health may explain in part why practicing members of the Church have lower risk for cardiovascular disease and live, on average, 5 to 10 years longer than other people. ( )

World No Tobacco Day strives to convince governments and individuals to stop the deaths and illnesses caused by tobacco use. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stand as examples of the very real benefits that result from abstaining from tobacco and other harmful substances.

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