The decision of the Rabbinical Council of America to ban smoking is welcome, but as they agree long overdue.
In 1960, as a medical student I wrote a paper for Pathology that summarized the current knowledge of smoking and its effects on the heart,lungs etc and even on those who inhale second hand smoke..Even then, the proof was overwhelming.
When I became President of the Union in 1994 ,one of my first articles in Jewish Action was a plea to the Rabbis to ban cigarette smoking to the same degree we prohibit unkosher products.
Sadly ,it is not uncommon to diagnose lung cancer on individuals who gave up smoking many years earlier.Therefore it it vital that we prevent young people from ever taking that first puff.
Hopefully,all of the Yeshiva world will follow suit There is no excuse to pass by a yeshiva or kollel and see young men smoking.
All of this in no way absolves parents from teaching their children the dangers of tobacco and drugs at an early age.