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1119 Methods for Quitting Smoking

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Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 1,119 – Methods for Quitting Smoking.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 1,119. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Visit our website at ESLPod.com. Take a look at our ESL Podcast Special Courses in Business and Daily English. On this episode of ESL Podcast, we’re going to talk about someone who is trying to quit smoking – to stop smoking cigarettes. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Lisa: This is it. I’m quitting smoking for good.

Michael: Good for you. Are you going cold turkey?

Lisa: No, I tried that, but it didn’t work. I craved cigarettes too much.

Michael: How about nicotine gum? Have you tried that?

Lisa: Yes, but I didn’t like the side effects. It irritated my throat.

Michael: That’s too bad. I suppose you’ve tried nicotine patches, too?

Lisa: Yes, I have. I became addicted to the patches and couldn’t wean myself off of them. I just traded one addiction for another.

Michael: And electronic cigarettes?

Lisa: They only made me want to smoke a real cigarette. They were no help at all.

Michael: So, what now?

Lisa: I’m going to try hypnosis. I hear that it works for some people.

Michael: And if that doesn’t work?

Lisa: The last resort is acupuncture. Some people say that’s effective for quitting smoking.

Michael: If you say so. Sometimes the cure is truly worse than the disease!

[end of dialogue]

Lisa begins our dialogue by saying, “This is it. I’m quitting smoking for good.” “To quit smoking” means to stop smoking cigarettes and never smoke them again. “For good” is an expression we use to mean forever, permanently, from now on. “My girlfriend and I have broken up for good.” We’re not ever going to get back together. Michael says to Lisa, “Good for you” after she tells him she is going to quit smoking, or stop smoking. “Good for you,” which is another way of congratulating someone, saying that they have done something good.

He says, “Are you going cold turkey?” The phrase “to go cold turkey” (turkey) means to quit something immediately – not to use a little less today and perhaps a little less the day after that until you finally stop, but rather to stop immediately without trying to reduce your use before you stop using it. Lisa says, “No, I tried that but it didn’t work.” She tried going cold turkey but it didn’t work.

You may be wondering why it’s called “cold turkey.” No one knows exactly for sure. The original meaning of the expression was to speak plainly – to not try to use big words or complicated sentences, but to speak the truth in a simple way. So perhaps the idea of quitting something immediately, without any other sorts of devices or approaches. But in any case, nowadays “to go cold turkey” means to stop doing some sort of bad habit, like smoking, immediately.

Lisa says she is not going to go cold turkey. She says, “I craved cigarettes too much,” referring to the last time she tried to stop smoking that way. “To crave” (crave) something is to have a very strong desire to eat it or drink it or have it. Usually we crave things that are physical pleasures – like for example, the pleasure of eating or drinking certain kinds of drink.

Michael says, “How about nicotine gum?” Michael is giving Lisa a suggestion – perhaps she should try “nicotine (nicotine) gum (gum).” “Gum” is a substance you put in your mouth to chew. Nicotine gum is a special kind of gum that has certain chemicals – nicotine – that are found in cigarettes, and it allows you to get a little bit of nicotine without actually having to smoke.

Michael asks if Lisa has tried nicotine gum. She says, “Yes, but I don’t like the side effects.” A “side effect” is some unwanted consequence of using a particular medicine or drug. Sometimes when you take a drug to help your body heal or feel better, it can cause other problems in your body. It might cause you a headache or to have an upset stomach. These are side effects of some drugs. It may make you sleepy.

Lisa says the side effect of nicotine gum for her was that it “irritated” her throat. “To irritate” (irritate) here means to cause a part of your body to become scratchy or red or uncomfortable. If something irritates your throat, it causes a strange, somewhat painful feeling in your throat. The verb “to irritate” can also mean to make someone else mad. So I guess you could think of it as, in this sense, the nicotine gun making her throat mad, maybe. Your “throat” (throat) is the part of the body inside of your neck. We breathe and eat and drink using our throat, normally.

Michael says, “That’s too bad.” He’s saying it’s unfortunate that the nicotine gum irritates Lisa’s throat. He says, “I suppose you’ve tried nicotine patches, too?” A “nicotine patch” (patch) is like a sticker that you put on your body that delivers medicine into your body. A “nicotine patch” would deliver nicotine chemicals into your body, similar to a nicotine gum. Once again, the purpose is to get the nicotine into your body to satisfy its cravings without actually smoking the cigarette.

Lisa says, “Yes, I have.” She has tried the nicotine patches. She says, however, “I became addicted to the patches and couldn’t wean myself off of them.” “To become addicted” (addicted) to something is to have a strong desire or need for a particular substance, or even experience. It’s such a strong desire that it has other negative effects on your life. Lisa says she became addicted to the nicotine patch, which of course was supposed to help her stop smoking, help her stop being addicted to cigarettes.

However, Lisa says she couldn’t wean herself off of them. “To wean (wean) yourself off of” something is to gradually use some substance less and less until finally you don’t use it at all. It’s to reduce the amount that you have or that you do slowly, in order to eventually stop doing it or having it altogether. Lisa says, “I just traded one addiction for another.” “To trade” means to give one thing and to get another thing back. In this case, she stopped smoking, but then she became addicted to the nicotine patch.

Michael gives another suggestion to Lisa, “And electronic cigarettes?” “Electronic cigarettes,” sometimes called e-cigarettes, are basically pen-shaped devices. They look sort of like a cigarette. The devices, the electronic cigarettes, turn nicotine into a gas that you then put into your body, but it doesn’t have the same harmful effects of smoking – at least, that’s the theory.

Lisa says, “They only made me want to smoke a real cigarette.” She said that smoking an electronic cigarette made her want to smoke a real cigarette. I’m not sure if that’s always true. Some people say it’s the opposite. But in any case, that is what happened to Lisa. She says, “They were no help at all.” Michael then asks, “So, what now?” meaning “What are you going to do now?”

Lisa says, “I’m going to try hypnosis.” “Hypnosis” (hypnosis) is a technique in which a person appears to be asleep, but can still hear and answer questions. Some people use hypnosis to help change their behavior, to stop doing something that they want to stop doing, like in this case, smoking cigarettes. I’ve never actually been “hypnotized.” That’s the verb we would use. I have never been under hypnosis. I’m not sure if it would work with me, but some people say it works.

Lisa says, “I hear that it,” meaning hypnosis, “works for some people.” Michael says, “And if that doesn’t work?” He’s asking what Lisa’s going to do if hypnosis does not help her quit smoking. Lisa responds, “The last resort is acupuncture.” A “last (last) resort (resort)” is the last option that you have when everything else has failed. Usually it’s something that you don’t really want to do.

If you’re having an argument with your girlfriend, you might try to talk to her. You might try to give her a gift. You might try being nice to her. But as a last resort, you can always break up with her. You can always end your relationship. That’s not something you want to do, but if you have to, you could. It’s the last option for action. For Lisa, the last resort is “acupuncture” (acupuncture). “Acupuncture” is a treatment involving putting small sharp pieces of metal called “needles” in your skin.

Some people say that you can use acupuncture to reduce pain, or to in this case help you quit smoking. I actually had a good friend that I used to teach with, a German teacher, who quit smoking, I suppose, 10 years or so before I had met her. She says that she used acupuncture. She went to an acupuncturist and the person put some sort of needle into her ear, and she said from that day on, she didn’t want to smoke another cigarette. Well, maybe it was for some other reason, I don’t know, but that’s what she told me.

Michael seems a little skeptical about acupuncture. He doesn’t seem to think it is going to work. That’s why he says, “If you say so.” That expression “if you say so” is used when you don’t really believe what the other person is saying, but you don’t want to argue about it either. Michael says, “Sometimes the cure is truly worse than the disease.” A “cure” (cure) is something that helps you get better, to get better physically, to get healthier. A “disease” (disease) is something that hurts your body.

The expression “The cure is worse than the disease” means that the solution that you have to get better is going to actually be worse for you than the thing that you started with. So, if your friend hurts her hand and you say to her, “Oh, well, I can just cut your hand off,” your friend might say, “Well, the cure is worse than the disease.” Yes, my hand will stop hurting, but then I won’t have a hand.

So you don’t want the thing that you are doing to fix a problem to make it worse, or to make the situation worse. Michael thinks that putting needles into your body is worse than the actual disease. In this case, he’s referring to Lisa’s habit of smoking, even though that isn’t technically a disease.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Lisa: This is it. I’m quitting smoking for good.

Michael: Good for you. Are you going cold turkey?

Lisa: No, I tried that, but it didn’t work. I craved cigarettes too much.

Michael: How about nicotine gum? Have you tried that?

Lisa: Yes, but I didn’t like the side effects. It irritated my throat.

Michael: That’s too bad. I suppose you’ve tried nicotine patches, too?

Lisa: Yes, I have. I became addicted to the patches and couldn’t wean myself off of them. I just traded one addiction for another.

Michael: And electronic cigarettes?

Lisa: They only made me want to smoke a real cigarette. They were no help at all.

Michael: So, what now?

Lisa: I’m going to try hypnosis. I hear that it works for some people.

Michael: And if that doesn’t work?

Lisa: The last resort is acupuncture. Some people say that’s effective for quitting smoking.

Michael: If you say so. Sometimes the cure is truly worse than the disease!

[end of dialogue]

It’s almost impossible to go cold turkey on listening to ESL Podcast, thanks to the wonderful scripts by our wonderful scriptwriter. Her scripts are truly addicting.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again right here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast was written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. Copyright 2015 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
to quit smoking – to end an addiction to smoking and never smoke again

* It’s really hard for people to quit smoking if their friends and family members continue to smoke around them.

for good – forever; from now on; permanently

* As usual, they got in a huge fight, but this time they’ve separated for good, and they’re filing for divorce.

cold turkey – a strategy for quitting in which one immediately stops smoking, without a gradual or step-by-step reduction in the how often or how much one smokes

* Learning about the dangerous effects of smoking on young children made Hanna stop cold turkey.

to crave – to experience an intense and very strong desire to eat, drink, or have something

* During pregnancy, Tara craved Chinese sweet-and-sour soup.

cigarette – a small tube made from piece of paper wrapped around dried tobacco leaves and other substances, lit with fire on one end and smoked from the other end by breathing in

* Cigarette smoking used to seem glamorous, until people started dying of lung cancer.

nicotine gum – a medical substance that is chewed but not swallowed, designed to deliver the same addictive chemicals that are found in cigarettes, but without exposing the individual to all the dangers of smoking

* Nicotine gum is available only by prescription and should never be in reach of children, who might try to chew it because they think it is regular gum.

side effect – an unwanted consequence of using a particular medication or drug

* Common side effects of this medication include nausea, headaches, and leg pain.

to irritate – to cause part of the body to become red, scratchy, hot, and uncomfortable

* The chlorine in the swimming pool really irritates his eyes. Look how red the are!

throat – the body part found inside the neck, used for swallowing and speaking

* His throat hurt after cheering loudly for the basketball team all afternoon.

nicotine patch – a medical substance like a sticker that is placed on the body, designed to deliver the same addictive chemicals that are found in cigarettes, but without exposing the individual to all the dangers of smoking

* The nicotine patch lasts a few days and is sticky enough that it doesn’t come off in the shower.

addicted – with a strong feeling of need for a particular substance or experience, with negative physical effects when that thing cannot be obtained or used

* If you have several strong drinks almost every night, you might be addicted to alcohol.

to wean (oneself) off – to gradually reduce the amount one has or does of something in an effort to eliminate it

* Was it difficult to wean yourself off white flour and sugar?

electronic cigarette – a pen-shaped device that turns nicotine into a gas and is used like a cigarette, but without all of the harmful effects of smoking

* Electronic cigarettes are becoming popular, because they don’t smell as bad as cigarettes do.

hypnosis – a technique in which the patient appears to be asleep, but can hear and answer questions, often used to help people change their behavior

* Some believe that hypnosis can be used to help people lose weight, learn to stop biting their fingernails, overcome fears, and more.

last resort – one’s last option for action, after everything else has failed, especially when referring to something that one would prefer not to do

* If your boss won’t give you a raise, you can always start crying as a last resort.

acupuncture – a treatment that involves placing small needles in the skin, used to reduce pain or improve health in a particular body part

* Jake used to have terrible headaches that didn’t respond to medication, but acupuncture made the pain stop.

the cure is worse than the disease – a phrase used to mean that the proposed solution is worse than the problem itself and therefore is not a good option

* Yes, you’re right that you can’t fail the course if you drop out of school, but wouldn’t that be a case where the cure is worse than the disease?

Comprehension Questions
1. Which of these is not placed in the mouth?
a) Cigarettes
b) Nicotine gum
c) Nicotine patches

2. What does Lisa mean when she says, “I craved cigarettes too much”?
a) She spent too much money on cigarettes.
b) She had a very strong desire to smoke.
c) She started eating her cigarettes.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
for good

The phrase “for good,” in this podcast, means forever, from now on, or permanently: “Having a heart attack at age 30 motivated Charles to reduce his salt intake for good.” The phrase “good name” refers to one’s reputation, or how others think about someone: “The newspaper stories about the scandal destroyed his good name within the community.” The phrase “good nature” refers to a friendly, helpful, and kind personality: “Alyce is a great friend with a good nature, always willing to help others and forgive their mistakes.” The phrase “good sense” refers to one’s logic and ability to make good, rational decisions: “They had the good sense to invest in cell-phone technology 30 years ago, and they have made a fortune.” Finally, the “Good Book” is a term used to refer to the Christian Bible: “Alice reads aloud to her children from the Good Book every evening before they go to bed.”

last resort

In this podcast, the phrase “last resort” means one’s last option for action, after everything else has failed, especially when referring to something that one would prefer not to do: “Hopefully, I’ll find a job soon, but if not, I can always move back into my parents’ home as a last resort.” The phrase “to resort to (something)” means to do, use, or depend on something because no other options are available: “Brenda never dreamed they would have to resort to looking for food in garbage cans, but they were desperate.” Finally, a “resort” is a place where many people go on vacation, often with a large, fancy hotel and optional luxuries: “They spent last weekend at a ski resort.” Or, “This beach resort has great rooms with beautiful views of the ocean.”

Culture Note
Tobacco Growing in the United States

The “tobacco” (the leaves used in cigarettes and related products) plant “is native to” (comes from; was originally found in) the Americas. The first tobacco seeds were brought to North America from Trinidad in the early 1600s, and the first tobacco crop was sold to Europe in 1612. Since then, tobacco has been an important “crop” (something grown for food or to make products for sale) in the United States. Tobacco grew best in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, and more generally in the southeastern part of what is now the United States.

In the 17th century, heavy demand for “snuff” (tobacco that is ground up into very small pieces and then “inhaled” (breathed in) through the nose) “prompted” (motivated; caused someone to do something) many farmers to plant tobacco over large areas of land known as “plantations.” Most of the tobacco “harvest” (the products taken from a field) was exported to Europe, which was a significant “stimulus” (something that helps something grow or become more active) for the economy in North America. Until the mid-1900s, the United States was the world’s largest manufacturer and “exporter” (a country that sells and sends products to other countries) of tobacco.

Because tobacco is a “labor-intensive crop” (a type of plant that requires a lot of agricultural labor), it “fueled” (caused to grow or increase) the “slave trade” (the practice of buying and selling people who are forced to work without pay). Plantation owners depended on slave labor to produce a high-quality crop, and slaves who developed strong skills in tobacco production were valued more highly than other slaves.

Comprehension Answers
1 - c

2 - b