IELTS Academic Reading Sample 5 - The Risks of Cigarette Smoke

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 15-28 which are based on Reading Passage 5 below.

The Risks of Cigarette Smoke

Discovered in the early 1800s and named nicotianine, the oily essence now called nicotine is the main active ingredient of tobacco. Nicotine, however, is only a small component of cigarette smoke, which contains more than 4,700 chemical compounds, including 43 cancer-causing substances. In recent times, scientific research has been providing evidence that, years of cigarette smoking vastly increases the risk of developing fatal medical conditions.

In addition to being responsible for more than 85 per cent of lung cancers, smoking is associated with cancers of, amongst others, the mouth, stomach and kidneys, and is thought to cause about 14 percent of leukaemia and cervical cancers. In 1990, smoking caused more than 84,000 deaths, mainly resulting from such problems as pneumonia, bronchitis and influenza. Smoking, it is believed, is responsible for 30 percent of all deaths from cancer and clearly represents the most important preventable cause of cancer in countries like the United States today.

Passive smoking, the breathing in of the side-stream smoke from the burning of tobacco between puffs or of the smoke exhaled by a smoker, also causes a serious health risk. A report published in 1992 by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emphasised the health dangers, especially from side-stream smoke. This type of smoke contains more, smaller particles and is therefore, more likely to be deposited deep in the lungs. On the basis of this report, the EPA has classified environmental tobacco smoke in the highest risk category for causing cancer.

As an illustration of the health risks, in the case of a married couple where one partner is a smoker and one a non-smoker, the latter is believed to have a 30 percent higher risk of death from heart disease because of passive smoking. The risk of lung cancer also increases over the years of exposure and the figure jumps to 80 percent if the spouse has been smoking four packs a day for 20 years. It has been calculated that 17 percent of cases of lung cancer can be attributed to high levels of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke during childhood and adolescence.

A more recent study by researchers at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) has shown that second-hand cigarette smoke does more harm to non-smokers than to smokers. Leaving aside the philosophical question of whether anyone should have to breathe someone else’s cigarette smoke, the report suggests that the smoke experienced by many people in their daily lives is enough to produce substantial adverse effects on a person’s heart and lungs.

The report, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (AMA), was based on the researchers’ own earlier research but also includes a review of studies over the past few years. The American Medical Association represents about half of all US doctors and is a strong opponent of smoking. The study suggests that people who smoke cigarettes are continually damaging their cardiovascular system, which adapts in order to compensate for the effects of smoking. It further states that people who do not smoke do not have the benefit of their system adapting to the smoke inhalation. Consequently, the effects of passive smoking are far greater on non-smokers than on smokers.

This report emphasises that cancer is not caused by a single element in cigarette smoke; harmful effects to health are caused by many components. Carbon monoxide, for example, competes with oxygen in red blood cells and interferes with the blood’s ability to deliver life-giving oxygen to the heart. Nicotine and other toxins in cigarette smoke activate small blood cells called platelets, which increases the likelihood of blood clots, thereby affecting blood circulation throughout the body.

The researchers criticise the practice of some scientific consultants who work with the tobacco industry for assuming that cigarette smoke has the same impact on smokers as it does on non-smokers. They argue that those scientists are underestimating the damage done by passive smoking and, in support of their recent findings, cite some previous research which points to passive smoking as the cause for between 30,000 and 60,000 deaths from heart attacks each year in the United States. This means that passive smoking is the third most preventable cause of death after active smoking and alcohol-related diseases.

The study argues that the type of action needed against passive smoking should be similar to that being taken against illegal drugs and AIDS (SIDA). The UCSF researchers maintain that the simplest and most cost-effective action is to establish smoke-free workplaces, schools and public places.

Questions 15-17
Choose the appropriate letters A - D and write them in boxes 15 -17 on your answer sheet.

15 According to information in the text, leukaemia and pneumonia
        A     are responsible for 84,000 deaths each year.
        B     are strongly linked to cigarette smoking.
        C     are strongly linked to lung cancer.
        D     result in 30 percent of deaths per year.

16 According to information in the text, intake of carbon monoxide
       A     inhibits the flow of oxygen to the heart.
       B     increases absorption of other smoke particles.
       C     inhibits red blood cell formation.
       D     promotes nicotine absorption.

17 According to information in the text, intake of nicotine encourages
      A     blood circulation through the body.
      B     activity of other toxins in the blood.
      C     formation of blood clots.
      D     an increase of platelets in the blood.

Questions 18-21
Do the following statements reflect the claims of the writer in Reading Passage 5? In boxes 18-21 on your answer sheet write:    

     YES                if the statement reflects the claims of the writer
     NO                 if the statement contradicts the claims of the writer
     NOT GIVEN    if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this

18 Thirty percent of deaths in the United States is caused by smoking-related diseases.
19 If one partner in a marriage smokes, the other is likely to take up smoking.
20 Teenagers whose parents smoke are at risk of getting lung cancer at some time during their lives.
21 Opponents of smoking financed the UCSF study.

Questions 22-24
Choose ONE phrase from the list of phrases A - J below to complete each of the following sentences (Questions 22-24).

Write the appropriate letters in boxes 22 - 24 on your answer sheet.

22 Passive smoking ...................
23 Compared with a non-smoker, a smoker ...................
24 The American Medical Association ...................

A   includes reviews of studies in its reports.

B   argues for stronger action against smoking in public places.

C   is one of the two most preventable causes of death.

D   is more likely to be at risk from passive smoking diseases.

E    is more harmful to non-smokers than to smokers.

F    is less likely to be at risk of contracting lung cancer.

G   is more likely to be at risk of contracting various cancers.

H   opposes smoking and publishes research on the subject.

I    is just as harmful to smokers as it is to non-smokers.

J   reduces the quantity of blood flowing around the body.

Questions 25-28
Classify the following statements as being
    A    a finding of the UCSF study
    B    an opinion of the UCSF study
    C    a finding of the EPA report
    D    an assumption of consultants to the tobacco industry

Write the appropriate letters A—D in boxes 25—28 on your answer sheet.
NB You may use any letter more than once.

25 Smokers’ cardiovascular systems adapt to the intake of environmental smoke.
26 There is a philosophical question as to whether people should have to inhale others’ smoke.
27 Smoke-free public places offer the best solution.
28 The intake of side-stream smoke is more harmful than smoke exhaled by a smoker.

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1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 3.36 (18 Votes)

Comments   

+2 # Preet 2016-10-03 09:15
Q18. It should be Not Given.
In the paragraph, it says 'Smoking, it is believed, is responsible for 30 percent of all deaths from cancer'.
The question asks 'Thirty percent of deaths in the United States is caused by smoking-related diseases'.
Clearly, smoking = 30% of deaths from cancer.
But it doesn't say smoking = 30% deaths in US.
Cancer is just one reason of so many reasons for death.
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0 # Baljeet Gill 2016-11-30 10:38
- The answer is no because the question mentions the reason for 30% deaths which is also given in the passage. The reason is smoking itself not disease related to smoking. What is responsible for 30% deaths is mentioned, so it is 'NO'.
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0 # Sally 2016-10-16 19:45
You're right there. IELTS Mentor, don't you think the answer should be "Not Given"?
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0 # Rin 2016-09-17 18:21
In question 20, I didn't understand why it's YES? There is nothing in the passage that mentions the danger on teenagers can be helped by anyone.
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0 # Baljeet Gill 2016-11-30 04:41
It has been calculated that 17 percent of cases of lung cancer can be attributed to high levels of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke during childhood and adolescence... The answer is here...
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0 # Minh Hai 2016-10-14 04:24
Take a look at the last sentence in paragraph 4: "17% of cases of lung cancer can be attributed to high levels of exposure to 2nd tobacco smoke during childhood and adolescence". It means people get lung cancer because, during their childhood or adolescence, they breathe the smoke of the cigarette a lot. That's why when parents smoke, their children will suffer.
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0 # Adarsh 2016-07-30 16:04
Useful.
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+1 # IELTS Mentor 2016-08-01 14:00
Thank you Adarsh.
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+2 # Andre 2016-07-12 22:30
Can anyone help me to find why does the answer to Question 20 is Yes?
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0 # Michael 2016-07-15 02:49
It has been calculated that 17 per cent of cases of lung cancer can be attributed to high levels of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke during childhood and adolescence. Ending of Paragraph 4.
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0 # Sandip 2016-07-12 14:44
Please help me in true or false type questions. I have a big problem in this...
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+1 # Om 2016-07-10 17:54
After doing a few exercises I realize it is not possible to perfectly answer what this site wants you to. The paragraphs are not clear on what writer is pointing to. I mean how I can predict what exactly writer means when he is not clear in his statements. If this is how the paragraphs are going to be in the Exam, I bet it is difficult to score very good. And that is not fair. Do you want to test someone for their level of understanding of the language or check if they have got some supernatural power to read your mind? I do not find things very Helpful here.
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+1 # Adeel 2016-06-19 14:27
'Not given' and 'false' always make me confused.
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0 # Sally 2016-10-16 19:52
False is not true. Not Given is not in the passage.
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+2 # Jay 2016-04-11 19:24
Can anyone help me with question 23? I choose F, I don't understand why the answer is G? Where is it from the passage?
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0 # Minh Hai 2016-10-14 05:46
In paragraph 4, it says "the risk of lung cancer will jump to 80 percent if the spouse has been smoking..." It means if either one husband or wife smoke, the one does not smoke will be more likely to suffer from "lung cancer".
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0 # Preet 2016-10-03 09:17
I also made the same mistake but now I realize that correct answer should be G only.
The mistake I did was that I assumed that the non-smoker is doing passive smoking, whereas this is not given in the question. Hence, if you remove this assumption, then the answer will obviously become G.
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-2 # Hanna 2016-05-25 21:03
I made the same mistake. I guess this is the answer: "Smoking, it is believed, is responsible for 30 per cent of all deaths from cancer and clearly represents THE MOST IMPORTANT PREVENTABLE CAUSE OF CANCER in countries like the United States today.
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+1 # Limo Sensei 2016-04-03 02:22
@Luke
Of course 25 is A. The study and report were by researchers at the UCSF. The report was published in the AMA journal... they didn't research it.
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+2 # Luke 2015-11-30 18:28
#25 is not A. There's no connection between the UCSF and cardiovascular system research... not happy :( It was the research done by AMA.
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+9 # Igor 2015-10-13 13:07
Question 18.
It clearly does not indicate that 30% of deaths in the US are caused by smoke-related issues. However, does it give anything in the contrary?
The statements given:
- smoking causes more than 85% of lung cancers, as well as causes some other cancers
- smoking causes 30% of deaths from cancer

Statements not given:
- smoking causes deaths from only cancer or cancer-related diseases
- the deaths from smoking are not only caused by cancer or cancer-related issues

Can you really draw a conclusion that amount of deaths in the US from smoke-related diseases is different from 30%? I cannot see how.
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0 # Shiv Rahilinezhad 2016-08-02 10:39
It is said that 30 percent of cancer, all deaths which are caused by any kind of cancer, not all death by accidents or... I hope this was helpful...
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0 # Hamza 2016-06-02 02:33
Not only in this one question, I can find plenty "logical-errors" like this in many IELTS reading samples. I am very confused on what to answer...
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0 # Narami 2016-05-09 16:26
Guys, About 18: That is No - "Smoking, it is believed, is responsible for 30 per cent of all deaths from cancer". There is no "United States" here. Then there is this "and clearly represents the most important preventable cause of cancer in countries like the United States today." So what do you think ? :)
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+2 # Igor 2016-05-10 05:43
No mentioning is relevant to "Not Given", not to "No".
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0 # Satvinder Singh 2016-03-23 16:30
Smoking, it is believed, is responsible for 30 per cent of all deaths from cancer and clearly represents the most important preventable cause of cancer in countries like the United States today. Quoting Igor:
Question 18.
It clearly does not indicate that 30% of deaths in the US are caused by smoke-related issues. However, does it give anything in the contrary?
The statements given:
- smoking causes more than 85% of lung cancers, as well as causes some other cancers
- smoking causes 30% of deaths from cancer

Statements not given:
- smoking causes deaths from only cancer or cancer-related diseases
- the deaths from smoking are not only caused by cancer or cancer-related issues

Can you really draw a conclusion that amount of deaths in the US from smoke-related diseases is different from 30%? I cannot see how.

Smoking, it is believed, is responsible for 30 per cent of all deaths from cancer and clearly represents the most important preventable cause of cancer in countries like the United States today. I think the ans is YES but its giving wrong here.
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+2 # Juan 2016-05-03 04:44
The answer is NO, because in the text the writer talks about the 30 percent of all deaths from cancer, in spite of the sentence that is referring to 30 per cent of deaths in the United States in general, it means all deaths not only that ones caused by cancer. It is contradicting the writers position, because of it it's NO.
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0 # Igor 2016-12-01 07:28
Yes, this seems to be a better explanation of this contradiction. However, one can still argue. The reader can get an impression that this value is higher than 30% but he cannot be sure.

1. The author mentions 30% of smoke-related cancer deaths, not specifying the US. The reader can, however, believe that the US statistics is similar.

2. The author refers to heart diseases as a significant cause of death, not specifying the US. The significance is explained as 30% higher risk of death among passive smokers caused by heart-related diseases. The reader can still assume those statistics to be similar in the US. Although the reader cannot see how many deaths from heart disease happen, therefore cannot claim an increased number of deaths to overlap possible difference between general cancer deaths and the US cancer deaths.

3. The reader can also understand that smoking causes not only cancer deaths in the US. Although, 'significance' is not clear, based on the text. Heart diseases are not given as an alternative to cancer. The reader is not supposed to know that heart diseases may have nothing to do with cancer.

4. The reader cannot just exclude a possibility of smoking in the US to cause a smaller number of cancer deaths than 30% and some number of non-cancer-deaths, producing 30% as a result of summation.
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+1 # Viola 2016-01-26 01:38
Should be NG.
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0 # Naqa 2015-12-25 02:03
You mean the giving answer is wrong ?
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0 # Javier 2015-09-28 21:27
Hi. I miss 3 out of 14.

17. My answer: D. Platelets are activated once you start smoking and it leads to the formation of clods

21. NO. I´m confused because it says that AMA is opposing to smoking, I would assume that they didn't finance the study

23. I chose F
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0 # Marta 2016-05-12 22:45
17. To activate platelets doesn't mean that you increase their number, just that they start doing their function.

21. AMA are not the only one opponents to smoking... and you can not say that ALL THE OPPONENTS TO SMOKING didn't finance the USCF study, you can't know it from the text.
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+6 # Linh 2015-08-13 21:08
Question 25 : A. Why??????
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0 # Luke 2015-11-30 13:37
As a native English speaker and IELTS instructor, I'm also having trouble locationg the reason. Anyone have any luck? >..
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-1 # Bhaskar 2015-07-19 19:56
@MARIO
the meaning of adolescence,which is at 4th paragraph last word relates parents and teenagers
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+1 # Jijo 2015-11-03 17:40
I think parents are adults not adolescents.
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+10 # Mario 2015-06-09 16:39
question 20 - "Yes"???

the right answer is rather "Not given"... or can anyone find teenagers/parents in the paragraphs?
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0 # Baljeet Gill 2016-11-30 10:43
Quoting Sally:
False is not true. Not Given is not in the passage.

It has been calculated that 17 percent of cases of lung cancer can be attributed to high levels of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke during childhood and adolescence.
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-1 # Alex 2015-08-22 15:58
Hey Mario,

you can find "adolescence" in the text which represents the period of being a teenager.

Greetings
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0 # Sheema 2016-05-19 12:04
According to my opinion there is no connection between adolescent and parents, but of course childhood means teenagers and adolescents. What about parents? I feel it's second hand smoker which mean parents or someone else. It should be NG.
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-3 # Agr 2015-07-09 17:55
Agree with you
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-1 # Denis 2015-07-16 21:47
Smoke during childhood and adolescence.
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-1 # david 2015-05-01 10:04
Good one
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+3 # simran 2014-12-15 18:14
Multiple choice analysis
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0 # prakash 2015-08-20 12:39
Multiple Choice.
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