Author: Lyon, Joseph Lynn
Devout Latter-day Saints do not use tobacco in any of its forms. They abstain because of an 1833 revelation known as the Word of Wisdom, which states that tobacco is "not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man," except as a poultice for bruises and treating "all sick cattle" (Doctrine and Covenants 89:8).
The Word of Wisdom was originally given to show the will of God, but not as a commandment. Abstinence from tobacco was expected of all fully participating Church members by the early twentieth century (see Doctrine and Covenants: Section 89).
Tobacco contains nicotine, which is a cerebral and vascular stimulant. The burning of the tobacco leaf also releases and produces a large number of chemicals, many of which are absorbed by the body and are known to cause cancer and other serious diseases.
Merrill, Ray M., Gordon B. Lindsay, and Joseph L. Lyon. "Tobacco-Related Cancers in Utah Compared to the United States: Quantifying the Benefits of the Word of Wisdom." BYU Studies 38:4 (1999):91-105.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health. Reducing the Health Consequences of Smoking: 25 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General. DHHS Publication No. (CDC) 89-8411. Rockville, Md., 1989.
Wilson, J. D., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 12th ed., pp. 2158-61. New York, 1991.
JOSEPH LYNN LYON