Anyone who has attempted to quit smoking can relate the difficulties and challenges it took to succeed, especially if the person decided to go cold turkey. There is a slew of advice available too, ranging from nicotine gum or patches to counseling sessions and hypnotherapy. But statistics show that only 3-5% of those who rely on willpower succeed, a dismally low number. What's more, only 50% of those who attempt to quit will succeed, usually requiring more than several attempts.
At General Electric, though, a more successful program will be implemented next year. The program intends to pay an incentive of $750 to those who give up the habit. In so doing, the company expects to save as much as $50 million per year because of decreased health costs. In other words, fewer smokers will mean healthier workers at GE.
The program first began as an experiment several years ago, with roughly half of the study's participants receiving increasingly greater and greater payments for each month they remained free of tobacco. After one year, 15% of this group had successfully kicked the habit. And although this may sound like quite a small figure, it was three times the success rate of the group which used orthodox methods. The other group in the study, who followed GE's more commonly recommended regimen, was simply encouraged to seek counseling and use anti-smoking drugs.
The program is not without controversy. Some participants cited willpower as a key factor, as well as outside factors like the desire to live longer and healthier lives for children and grandchildren. Dr. Normal Edelman, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association, also questioned paying people to quit. Yet he lauded one aspect of the study, namely the 15% success rate.
Preview some of the lesson material:
Warm Up: Do you agree or disagree? Why?
- Smoking is a disgusting and dirty habit.
- People shouldn't smoke inside buildings, especially when at work. All smokers should have to smoke outside.
- Only weak people can't quit smoking.
- Because tobacco is a drug, it should be made illegal.
- I want to smoke a cigarette now!
Fragments: Remember how the fragments were used, and complete the sentence from today's article.
- But statistics show that only 3-5% of those who rely on willpower succeed, a...
- At General Electric, though, a more successful...
- After one year, 15% of this group had...
- The other group in the study, who followed GE's more commonly recommended regimen...
- Dr. Normal Edelman, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association, also...
post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!
- What do you think about smoking and smokers? Please explain.
- Do you think it's fair that smokers at GE will be paid to quit? Why/not?
- How does this program differ from parents paying children to achieve good grades?
- How does this program differ from companies paying bonuses to employees who benefit the company?
- Because tobacco is a drug, should smoking be made illegal? Why/not?
Google Search: Type "smoking" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.