Vaping, Coffee, Tea, and Marijuana
Is vaping bad? Is there coffee in a latte? Let’s clear up a few items that you may be confused about when it comes to the Word of Wisdom.
Here are some facts about the Word of Wisdom:
- In Doctrine and Covenants 89:8–9, The Lord forbids our using tobacco and “hot drinks,” which, Church leaders have explained, means tea and coffee.[i]
- Modern prophets and apostles have frequently taught that the Word of Wisdom warns us against substances that can harm us or enslave us to addiction.[ii]
So, with those facts in mind, let’s try to clear up a few items that Latter-day Saint youth today may find a little confusing.
Vaping, E-Cigarettes, etc.
Electronic vaporizers, or e-cigarettes, are devices people use to inhale mist, usually with various flavors. One study showed that nearly two-thirds of teen e-cigarette users thought that the pods they were vaping contained only flavoring.[iii] That’s way, way far from the truth. Most vaping pods contain nicotine, which comes from tobacco and is harmful and highly addictive. Vaping is clearly against the Word of Wisdom.
Mocha, Latte, Macchiato, etc.
The word coffee isn’t always in the name of coffee drinks. So before you try what you think is just some new milkshake flavor, here are a couple rules of thumb:
1. If you’re in a coffee shop (or any other shop that’s well known for its coffee), the drink you’re ordering probably has coffee in it, so either never buy drinks at coffee shops, or always ask if there’s coffee in it.
2. Drinks with names that include café or caffé, mocha, latte, espresso, or many drinks ending in -ccino are coffee. Also, decaffeinated coffee (or decaf) is still coffee.
Green Tea, Iced Tea
Green tea and black tea are both made from the leaves of the exact same tea plant. The only difference is that the leaves in black tea are fermented and in green tea they’re not. They’re both tea and against the Word of Wisdom. Also, iced tea is still tea.
Marijuana may be legal for medicinal use or even recreational use in a lot of places now, but that doesn’t mean that any use is suddenly not against the Word of Wisdom. Medical uses are being studied, but just like many pain medications such as opioids, marijuana is an addictive substance. Such habit-forming substances should be avoided except under the care of a competent physician and then used only as prescribed.
1. See Handbook 2: Administering the Church (2010), 21.3.11.
2. See For the Strength of Youth (2011), 26–27.
3. See Lloyd D. Johnston and others, Monitoring the Future: National Survey Results on Drug Use, 1975-2016; 2016 Overview: Key Findings on Adolescent Drug Use (2016), 43.