Readers’ Scoop: Yeshivahs Should Ban Smoking

smoking-kills-big.jpg(VIDEO added upon request) Dear Editor: Not long ago, a family friend passed away after battling lung cancer. We watched as he died a slow and painful death, at the age of approximately 45. He was a smoker for many years. But the ones suffering today are his wife and children. I said to myself, what can I do to prevent this from happening to others and so I tried starting an anti-smoking campaign, which some may have seen on flyers, but on the most part never took off. I have one question. Why are Yeshivahs not banning smoking? Is it because they cannot enforce it? Why should children (yes, I say children because I’ve seen 14-15 year olds smoking behind their school building) be allowed to smoke near theirYeshivah? If they want to kill themselves while feeling and looking ‘cool’, that’s one issue, but why should they be allowed to do so while on Yeshivah grounds, influencing other students?

I passed by the Yeshivah on (moderated) Street the other day, and saw a group of about 8-10 boys standing and smoking outside. I thought to myself ‘poor kids and poor parents’. (I just hope and pray that my teenager isn’t doing the same in Israel).

I hope that some school administrators and principals would read this and do something about this, so that we don’t have to watch any others suffer the painful deaths some smokers suffer.

Just a mother.

Editor’s note: After reading the above post, a reader suggested that we re-post a video originally posted a while ago on TLS. Please note, the video contains graphic images.

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  1. I would hope this article doesn’t get any opposing posts as the writer is 1000% right & there is nothing to disagree about…or at least that is what I think.

  2. first of all i can almost garentee your son is doing this in Isreal second of all they asured every thing else under the sun please leave us some outlet.

  3. Kudos to this mom. If the boys want to smoke, let them sneak away and do it just like we always had to. For the hanhalos of the yeshiva high schools in Lakewood to take such a tolerant position on this is outrageous and a violation of their relationship to the parents of these poor kids. If the boys need a release, get them basketball or something. Go mom go! the life you save may be your own (child’s).

  4. There you go again blaming the yeshivas for Teenagers acting themselves. there is not one yeshiva that permits smoking ..its the teens and bochrim doing it on their own. Education and awarness is the only preventive ..and stop giving your children so much spending money otherwise the couldn’t afford it.

  5. Maybe teach thaem middos and derech eretz first and work on the important things and then work on the less important issues like drinking, smoking, cell phones and so on (if they think its an issue) those who want to something will do it anyways

  6. I’l tell you something else; the cigarettes of today are much more addictive and dangerous than plain tobacco, like cigars or pipes. If someone HAS to smoke, let them use regular rolling tobacco. But you see, it’s also the “coolness” of the whole thing.

    Cigarettes are made from the the garbage leftovers swept from the floor of the tobacco processing plant to which they add chemicals to make it many times MORE addictive than freshly dried tobacco leaves. It is shearings soaked in these chemicals and then dried.

  7. When I was in high school I never smoked (and never started afterward either) because my Rosh Yeshiva educated the bochurim about the danger and issur involved in this abhorrent activity. I still recall the various signs he hung on the bulletin board with piskei halacha from the Chofetz Chaim and other gedolim regarding the seriousness of this damaging pursuit. And if it was found that a boy still went ahead and broke this rule, it was strictly dealt with and no one was envious of the punishment..

  8. I started smoking when I was 19, I was going through an issue in my life, and I needed the outlet. I constantly convinced myself that I wasn’t addicted, till it was too late. I smoked a pack a day for ten years, and I stopped cold turkey after I read the book “The Easy Way to Stop Smoking” by Allen Carr. (It’s a great book, and it worked by many of my friends too)

    I’m off the cigs for over two years, and I have absolutely no ure to smoke anymore.

    I think I established my credentials. So, that said, here’s my two cents:

    When you tell a smoker to stop smoking, he laughs at you. (he cries to himself, but it won’t help.) When you tell a smoker how smoking will kill him, the first thing he’ll do is light up a cigarette. The drashos don’t help. WE ARE ADDICTED TO NICOTINE. Just like drug addicts. We know we are addicted, we don’t know what to do about it, telling us off won’t help, it just makes us feel more helpless. If you take away our cigarettes, we’ll go somewhere else for it.

    The best thing you can do for a smoker is buy him the book “The easy way to stop smoking” by Allen Carr.

    If you are a mechanech, or a concerned parent, buy the book, read it, and understand what we’re going through. Then you’ll be able to help us.

    And another thing. As explained in the book, EVERYONE who starts smoking only starts because they see others doing it and supposedly enjoying it, and they want to be a part of it. There needs to be a way to show young kids that smokers HATE IT!!! SMOKERS WISH THEY CAN STOP!! Don’t start in the first place!!!!

    But once a smoker started, …………he needs to read the book.



  9. Unfortunately, many of us are in the same boat, wishing our children wouldnt start and wishing that the Yeshivas would help us. I am even more disappointed because the Yeshiva my 15 was in at the time claimed that they would expel any smoking boy, with which they didnt follow through. Because smoking does not have the immediate consequences drugs have, this problem is not dealt with urgently. It would be a wonderful benefit to Klal Yisroel if we would all get together, the Roshei Yeshivas, parents, etc. and deal with this problem.

  10. Assuming your IQ is above 80, i could assume that your comment was written tongue-in-cheek, but i will address what you wrote as if you wrote in sincerity as some people do feel that way:
    to bring a proof from gedolim who did something before they were gedolim and before they knew the (extent of) dangers of smoking is ludicrous. Yes, everyone needs an outlet, but chamira sakanta m’issura. Perhaps those boys that are kulo torah do not need and should not play basketball, but the other 99% need it. Do you have any outlets? I’m sure not and writing on TLS is purely l’shem shamayim. Now if you will please allow me to dislodge my tongue from my cheek…

  11. Here is the problem with the yeshivas banning smoking:

    ** It wont be effective, this making them look ineffective**

    Even though the ban would be based on the concept of “protecting your body and soul” (thus it should not require a ban), for some reason, orthodox Jews don’t recognize recent halachas as an absolute requiredment. When electricity was banned, it was fully accepted, and most frum yeshivah students would never use electricity on shabbos, after all, it’s a “d’oraysah”. Yet something like smoking, which causes physical harm, for some reason does not have the same seriousness. And that bothers me. A lot. Anyone familiar with Berayshis knows that one of the first references to Man, is that he was created in Hashems image. We are entrusted with that image to protect it and keep it holy. To tarnish it with lung cancer and other diseases seems to me to be the ultimate sin against Hashem, worse than chilul shabbos and kosher. And yet, it is routinely violated by sincere, frum Jews.

    This disconnect disturbs me tremendously.

  12. They should show some of the grueling videos in yeshivas. An organization should be formulated. People that have had a family member or friend die from it should be running the organization.

  13. I need an outlet and mcdonalds taste really good, so can i circumvent the law of kosher simply because of my need for an outlet? Smoking violates the torahs commandment to protect your body, so its very clear cut. Smoking is equivalent to breaking shabbos or kosher in my book. End of story. I don’t want to hear about how addictions are hard to break, etc. Before i was religious, I was addicted to Taco Bell, but the day i started keeping kosher, i stopped, cold turkey

  14. you write about not enforcing the expelling from yeshivah . I agree that smoking is terrible . but lert me ask ypu . If your son was caught smoking and he was immediately expelledd from his yeshivah and then he couldnt find another yeshivah and he ended up going from being a top bochur to being a bum street kid withouy a yeshivah and then he went off the derech ch”v becausese he got expelled ,would you still have taynos on the yeshivah for not enforcing the “immediate expulsion upon smoking ” rule ? Please answer logically

  15. I have three teenage daughters. My first question when it’ll come to shiduchim-“Does he smoke?” Second question “Are you sure?”

    All boys should feel that they are narrowing their choices when they smoke.

  16. you are making the yeshivas responsible for all your sons problems . Do you really want the yeshiva to expel your son in todays environment where he will end up as a total off the derech street kid after being expelledd . That is the yeshivas dilemma . They would love to stop the smoking as much as you but thery knoiw that if the start expelling kids then they will have dozens of kids go off the derech . Do you pasken that is what they should do

  17. I was being facetious in my previous comment. I’m wondering what it says when many thought I was being serious.

    The issue is that the yeshiva culture doesn’t look down on smoking. To paraphrase Rabbi Horowitz from Monsey, if these kids would be eating Cholv Stam chocolate, would the yeshiva’s take it as lightly as they do smoking?

  18. to Anonymous # 18. I know of such a case you suggest. The bochur litteraly roams the streets, the neighborhood knows about it and the father is in denial. He has to save face because his daughters are of shidduch age. Where will this boy end up? Everyone responds I don’t want to get involoved (the father – a michaber seforim that are used in BMG) was already mevatel almost everyone in the neighborhood because he holds himself a “bigger talmud chacham”. his yeshiva did kick him out for smoking. The Chazon ISH ztl held to kick a boy out of yeshiva you need a bais din of 23. That was then! imagine now!!! The problem is everyone is soo busy they don’t want to WORK with the bachurim. they only want mitzuyanim and if you don’t fit our mold then get out!

  19. To all the parents of girls in shiduchim: Please dont turn down a bochur who smokes! the facts are that many many bochurim smoke and almost all ie 99.9% stop after marrige, the many others stoped during shiduchim, so to turn down a bochur for this reason is stupid and you are doing so at your own risk! dont complain later about the “Crises” it will be YOUR fault!

  20. y6ssi greenbaum,
    do you know what the word grueling means?
    BTW, the only sensible comment here was by BMG about Mr. Carr’s book. As an ex-heavy smoker, I can tell you that people, especially female, who know nothing about nicottene and tobbacco adiction, completely miss every point. If they really cared they would read Mr. Carr’s book in order to educate themselves, rather than hurl mindless rants at everyone or go the ignorant route of telling people to watch grotesque, prophane videos which have been proven to be completely inneffective.

  21. Boys should have to stop when they get “frozen”. that way the shidduchim will be unaffected. Few if any girls ask “did he EVER smoke?”. Of course, they should never start and if they do we should throw them out on the street where they will learn better habits. In all seriousness, though, the yeshivas cannot abdicate their achrayus to look after, educate and yes, discipline those boys who are causing themselves deep harm. Turning a blind eye is unconscionable, and if they fear that kids will do it anyway, “yilbash shchorim…” is a better path for these kids.

  22. I realize you were joking but actually I could name a Gadol who played basketball in his youth. Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel was known as a great player in Chicago when he was growing up. I’ve been told this by a number of people who knew him in high school. So…let’s get these boys some basketballs if they need an outlet.

  23. I personally know that the Yeshivas are for the m ost part VERY against smoking . But they are very fearful of expelling bochurim because of the risk of them going off ono the street . Expelling a bochur for smoking which I agree is terrible only to have him on the street doing drugs ,is not the solution either . we have a terrible street today and expelling kids is not the answer

  24. guys grow up and be realistic safety and health is really important however if you want to be a hero then do what the Rachmistrifker Rebe does, he waits by a red light until it says walk (he wouldn’t cross if its blinking “don’t walk”), don’t hitchhike wear a reflector and how could i forget no junk food, dont touch door knobs like Reb Avigdor Miller, he used to avoid germs the list is endless oh and on the way to bais shalom when youre walking on route 9 waer a face mask the emissions from the cars are like inhaling a pack of cigars
    (btw i don’t smoke for those who think that that’s the reason I’m responding like this (i used to)

  25. I’ve read all of your comments and what I am most amazed by is the fact that NO ONE mentioned that it is ILLEGAL to purchase tobacco under the age of 19!!!!! Therefore, if they are buying cigarettes, the store owner is liable to be fined. True, your teens aren’t fined but regardless, it is against the laws of the State of New Jersey for them to purchase the product.

  26. As a follow up to my last post, I’d be interested to know which store(s) are selling tobacco products to children under the age of 19. With all of the recent attention being given to the downtown area, I would hope that the establishments in that particular area are not engaging in what the State of NJ defines as illegal activity.

    Food for thought…. any comments?

  27. At least one Bais Medrash in Lakewood has every bochur and his parents sign that he will not smoke, and he understands if he is caught smoking he can be expelled.

  28. Recently I was shopping and a young teenager came over in the store and asked me if i would swap him one type of cigarette for a Marlboro.

    I told him I don’t smoke that stuff, I only have marijuana.

    It was not the first time this teenager approached me.

    Ps I don’t even know how to light a cigarette.

    In my days as a teenager if one smoked they would be embarrassed to let any adult know. Now who cares!!!!

    that may be the problem, WHO DOES CARE FOR THESE KIDS!!!!!

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