Lauren has been smoking casually for the last two years. She began smoking when she was only sixteen years old and was pressured by her high school peers. Six of the most popular girls in school smoked and they offered her a cigarette when she was hanging out with them after school one day. She couldn’t light the cigarette and had to have someone else do it for her. When she took her first drag, her lungs felt like they were on fire and she began coughing violently. She should have known then that smoking wasn’t good for her body, but she didn’t listen to her instincts.

Now Lauren is in her late thirties and her habit has continued through many different periods of her life. She had been a chain smoker, but quit when she became pregnant with her first child, and was able to avoid cigarettes for the next seven years and two more pregnancies. But when her first child, Aaron, was six years old and got diagnosed with Leukemia, it made Lauren chronically anxious. Lauren says it was the anxiety that caused her to pick up her first cigarette in seven years one day when she was at the hospital.

During one of the many long hospital visits, she told her husband that she needed to step outside for a minute. She left the hospital and walked across the street to a park to get some air. There, she saw a young man standing next to a monument smoking a cigarette.

“Do you have an extra cigarette?” She asked the man.

“Sure,” the man said. He handed her his pack of cigarettes and a lighter. Standing in the sun, she lit one up, deeply inhaled the smoke, and felt immediately relieved when she exhaled.

“You look stressed,” the man said.

“Yeah. My son has been in there all morning doing tests,” she admitted.

“So sorry to hear that,” the man said. “It is always hard to be the parent. You see your kids suffering and you just want to take it all away – take their place. But thats the best hospital in the state. The doctors there are the cream of the crop.”

“Thanks,” she replied.

There she stood, enjoying her cigarette, when the babysitter pulled up with Lauren’s second child sitting in the back seat of the car. “What are you eating, Mommy?” he asked. Lauren felt completely embarrassed to be caught smoking by her son.

“Nothing,” she replied as she threw the cigarette down and put it out with her foot. For the next two years, she kept her habit a secret by smoking only when she had some time to spend away from her family. When the doctors told her that Aaron’s Leukemia was under control and that he would likely make a full recovery, Lauren decided to quit for good. She hated the taste that smoking left in her mouth and she knew that it was putting her at risk for cancer, too.

“It’s really a bad example for the kids,” her husband said to her one day.

“What is?” Lauren replied.

“You smoking,” he insisted. “What, you think I didn’t notice you sneaking off every couple of hours?”

“Look, I really want to be done with it.” Lauren admitted. “Will you help me?”

“Of course I will,” he said. “Let me know what you need me to do.”

Lauren made an appointment to talk to her own doctor, who suggested she try nicotine gum. She went to the pharmacy and purchased a pack of it. It’s been three weeks since the doctor’s consultation, and whenever Lauren gets a headache or starts to feel stressed, she chews the nicotine gum.

Hopefully, she will be able to remain cigarette-free for life from now on.

Comprehension Questions

  1. How much was Lauren smoking in her twenties?


2. What made her quit smoking the first time?


3. What are the three reasons that made Lauren want to quit for good?

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Write an essay about habits and addiction:

Have you ever had a bad habit? Was it physically unhealthy for you? Did it cause any other problems for you? Have you ever tried to quit? Were you able to stop or do you still have this habit?










[audio: Casual Smoker Dictation]

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  1. Smoking is a very bad habit.
  2. People can become addicted to cigarettes very easily.
  3. Nicotine is the drug in tobacco products.
  4. Some smokers smoke more than a pack of cigarettes a day.
  5. When a smoker quits smoking, he or she will experience symptoms of withdrawal.
  6. Withdrawal symptoms from smoking might include a headache, an increased appetite, and increased irritability.
  7. In the 1940s, some doctors believed that smoking was good for people because it reduced their stress levels.
  8. People have smoked tobacco all around the world for hundreds of years.
  9. Native Americans were the first to discover the benefits of ingesting tobacco.
  10. New York State taxes cigarettes at a higher rate than most other states.
  11. Virginia is a big producer of tobacco, and is home to Phillip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, and other big cigarette makers.
  12. Smoking can cause cancer, heart disease, and malnutrition.
  13. The best way to avoid the health consequences of smoking is to never start.
  14. In the United States, about 10 percent of the adult population smokes cigarettes.
  15. Electronic cigarettes became a popular alternative to tobacco starting around 2010.
  16. Smoking e-cigarettes is also known as vaping.
  17. E-cigarettes have not been used long enough to fully study their effects on the human body.
  18. In 2019, many hospital patients who had used e-cigarettes reported breathing difficulties.
  19. These patients were found to have lung infections related to vaping.
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