- Parent Category: Upper-Intermediate News Lessons
- Category: Health Lessons
- Written by Chris Cotter
Anyone who has attempted to quit smoking understands the difficulties and challenges it took to succeed. This is especially true if the person decided to quit cold turkey. There is a lot of advice about how to quit smoking, ranging from nicotine gum or nicotine patches to counseling sessions and hypnotherapy. But statistics show that only 3-5% of people who rely on willpower succeed, which is a terribly low number. In addition, only 50% of people who try to quit will succeed, so most smokers must try several times to give up the habit.
At General Electric, though, a more successful program will be implemented next year. The program plans to pay $750 to smokers who successfully quit. Furthermore, the company anticipates that it will 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. About half of the study's participants received 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. This may sound like quite a small figure, but it was three times the success rate of the group which used more orthodox methods. The other group in the study followed GE's more commonly recommended system. They were 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 the 15% success rate of the program.
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.
- There is a lot of advice about how to quit smoking, ranging from...
- But statistics show that only 3-5% of people who rely on willpower succeed, which is...
- At General Electric, though, a more successful program...
- This may sound like quite a small figure, but it was three times the...
- Some participants cited willpower as a key factor, as well as outside factors like...
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.