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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of concerts and plays from the real IELTS exam

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Dave

IELTS Essay: Cigarettes

Smoking is a major cause of serious illness and death throughout the world today. In the interest of the public health, governments should ban cigarettes and other tobacco products.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Many today are calling for a complete ban on tobacco related products due to their health effects. In my opinion, since tobacco offers few tangible benefits, such a prohibition would be justified.

Opponents of such a policy argue that it conflicts with individual and economic freedom. Firstly, individuals should have the right to live their life as they wish as long as they are not harming others. This is the basic tenet that underlies most democratic societies and smoking cigarettes falls firmly within this sphere of an individual’s rights. Secondly, there is an economic factor. Tobacco companies produce billions of cigarettes a year, providing employment and paying significant taxes throughout the process. If these companies were suddenly forced to declare bankruptcy and shut down, it would have catastrophic short-term effects on the economies of both developed and developing nations. The economic downsides alone could, temporarily, do more harm than good.

However, tobacco is an almost entirely harmful product in its effects. In contrast to other narcotics, such as caffeine, alcohol, and cannabis, there is no discernible sensation produced by smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco. Tobacco contains nicotine, which is highly addictive and engenders a chemical dependency, and that is the reason it has become such a common habit. Moreover, there are meaningful health problems that for smokers as well as unintended parties through second-hand smoke. It is common for long-time smokers to suffer from a weakened immune system, conditions like emphysema, and increased risk for lung cancer. These maladies place an added burden on the health system and hospitals.

The limited benefits of cigarettes compared with the massive potential health costs for individuals and society justify the ban. Individuals have always had to sacrifice elements of freedom in order to ensure greater security and this issue is only viewed differently for historical reasons.

Analysis

1. Many today are calling for a complete ban on tobacco related products due to their health effects. 2. In my opinion, since tobacco offers few tangible benefits, such a prohibition would be justified.

  1. Paraphrase the overall essay topic.
  2. Write a clear opinion. Read more about introductions here.

1. Opponents of such a policy argue that it conflicts with individual and economic freedom. 2. Firstly, individuals should have the right to live their life as they wish as long as they are not harming others. 3. This is the basic tenet that underlies most democratic societies and smoking cigarettes falls firmly within this sphere of an individual’s rights. 4. Secondly, there is an economic factor. 5. Tobacco companies produce billions of cigarettes a year, providing employment and paying significant taxes throughout the process. 6. If these companies were suddenly forced to declare bankruptcy and shut down, it would have catastrophic short-term effects on the economies of both developed and developing nations. 7. The economic downsides alone could, temporarily, do more harm than good.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Develop it with specific or hypothetical examples.
  4. Move on to a related factor if you want.
  5. Develop that idea.
  6. Use complex grammar to help you development.
  7. Conclude the paragraph.

1. However, tobacco is an almost entirely harmful product in its effects. 2. In contrast to other narcotics, such as caffeine, alcohol, and cannabis, there is no discernible sensation produced by smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco. 3. Tobacco contains nicotine, which is highly addictive and engenders a chemical dependency, and that is the reason it has become such a common habit. 4. Moreover, there are meaningful health problems that for smokers as well as unintended parties through second-hand smoke. 5. It is common for long-time smokers to suffer from a weakened immune system, conditions like emphysema, and increased risk for lung cancer. 6. These maladies place an added burden on the health system and hospitals.

  1. Write a new topic sentence with a new main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your new main idea.
  3. Include specific details and examples.
  4. Continue developing it…
  5. as fully as possible!
  6. Conclude a strong statement.

1. The limited benefits of cigarettes compared with the massive potential health costs for individuals and society justify the ban. 2. Individuals have always had to sacrifice elements of freedom in order to ensure greater security and this issue is only viewed differently for historical reasons.

  1. Summarise your main ideas.
  2. Include a final thought. Read more about conclusions here.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean? Make some notes on paper to aid memory and then check below.

Many today are calling for a complete ban on tobacco related products due to their health effects. In my opinion, since tobacco offers few tangible benefits, such a prohibition would be justified.

Opponents of such a policy argue that it conflicts with individual and economic freedom. Firstly, individuals should have the right to live their life as they wish as long as they are not harming others. This is the basic tenet that underlies most democratic societies and smoking cigarettes falls firmly within this sphere of an individual’s rights. Secondly, there is an economic factor. Tobacco companies produce billions of cigarettes a year, providing employment and paying significant taxes throughout the process. If these companies were suddenly forced to declare bankruptcy and shut down, it would have catastrophic short-term effects on the economies of both developed and developing nations. The economic downsides alone could, temporarily, do more harm than good.

However, tobacco is an almost entirely harmful product in its effects. In contrast to other narcotics, such as caffeine, alcohol, and cannabis, there is no discernible sensation produced by smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco. Tobacco contains nicotine, which is highly addictive and engenders a chemical dependency, and that is the reason it has become such a common habit. Moreover, there are meaningful health problems that for smokers as well as unintended parties through second-hand smoke. It is common for long-time smokers to suffer from a weakened immune system, conditions like emphysema, and increased risk for lung cancer. These maladies place an added burden on the health system and hospitals.

The limited benefits of cigarettes compared with the massive potential health costs for individuals and society justify the ban. Individuals have always had to sacrifice elements of freedom in order to ensure greater security and this issue is only viewed differently for historical reasons.

Answers

For extra practice, write an antonym (opposite word) on a piece of paper to help you remember the new vocabulary:

calling for asking about

complete ban total prohibition against

tobacco related products cigarettes, chewing tobacco, etc.

tobacco what is inside cigarettes

few tangible benefits concrete advantages

prohibition ban

justified good reason for it

opponents people against it

policy reform

conflicts fights

right a basic ability people should have

as long as so far as

harming hurting

basic tenet essential part

underlies is the foundation of

democratic societies countries where you can vote

falls firmly within this sphere is definitely part of

factor element

produce make

employment jobs

paying significant taxes throughout the process giving money to the government all the time

suddenly forced right now must

declare bankruptcy go out of business

shut down close down, go out of business

catastrophic short-term effects huge impact right away

developed and developing nations rich and poor countries

downsides disadvantages

temporarily for a short time

almost entirely nearly completely

in contrast to however

narcotics drugs

caffeine coffee

alcohol beer, wine, etc.

cannabis marijuana

discernible sensation real feeling

chewing tobacco another kind of tobacco product

contains nicotine has an addictive chemical in it

highly addictive makes you want to keep using it

engenders creates

chemical dependency need to have it

common habit pervasive action

meaningful significant

as well as and

unintended parties people not meant to be involved

second-hand smoke people inhaling smoke who are not smoking, passive smokers

common pervasive

suffer from have the condition

weakened immune system get sick easily

conditions diseases

emphysema a lung disease

increased risk more chance of it

lung cancer cancer of your lungs

maladies illnesses

added burden more pressure

health system and hospitals doctors, medical care, etc.

limited benefits fewer advantages

compared with in comparison to

massive potential health costs huge expense in hospitals

sacrifice give up

in order to do that

ensure make sure

greater security increased safety

viewed differently seen in another way

historical reasons causes from the past, traditions

Pronunciation

Practice saying the vocabulary below and use this tip about Google voice search:

ˈkɔːlɪŋ fɔː 
kəmˈpliːt bæn 
təˈbækəʊ rɪˈleɪtɪd ˈprɒdʌkts 
təˈbækəʊ 
fjuː ˈtænʤəbl ˈbɛnɪfɪts
ˌprəʊɪˈbɪʃən 
ˈʤʌstɪfaɪd
əˈpəʊnənts 
ˈpɒlɪsi 
ˈkɒnflɪkts 
raɪt 
æz lɒŋ æz 
ˈhɑːmɪŋ 
ˈbeɪsɪk ˈtiːnɛt 
ˌʌndəˈlaɪz 
ˌdɛməˈkrætɪk səˈsaɪətiz 
fɔːlz ˈfɜːmli wɪˈðɪn ðɪs sfɪə 
ˈfæktə
ˈprɒdjuːs 
ɪmˈplɔɪmənt 
ˈpeɪɪŋ sɪgˈnɪfɪkənt ˈtæksɪz θru(ː)ˈaʊt ðə ˈprəʊsɛs
ˈsʌdnli fɔːst 
dɪˈkleə ˈbæŋkrəptsi 
ʃʌt daʊn
ˌkætəˈstrɒfɪk ʃɔːt-tɜːm ɪˈfɛkts 
dɪˈvɛləpt ænd dɪˈvɛləpɪŋ ˈneɪʃənz
ˈdaʊnˌsaɪdz 
ˈtɛmpərərɪli
ˈɔːlməʊst ɪnˈtaɪəli 
ɪn ˈkɒntrɑːst tuː 
nɑːˈkɒtɪks
ˈkæfiːn
ˈælkəhɒl
ˈkænəbɪs
dɪˈsɜːnəbl sɛnˈseɪʃən 
ˈʧuːɪŋ təˈbækəʊ
kənˈteɪnz ˈnɪkətiːn
ˈhaɪli əˈdɪktɪv 
ɪnˈʤɛndəz 
ˈkɛmɪkəl dɪˈpɛndənsi
ˈkɒmən ˈhæbɪt
ˈmiːnɪŋfʊl 
æz wɛl æz 
ˌʌnɪnˈtɛndɪd ˈpɑːtiz 
ˈsɛkənd-hænd sməʊk
ˈkɒmən 
ˈsʌfə frɒm 
ˈwiːkənd ɪˈmjuːn ˈsɪstɪm
kənˈdɪʃənz 
ˌɛmfɪˈsiːmə
ɪnˈkriːst rɪsk 
lʌŋ ˈkænsə
ˈmælədiz 
ˈædɪd ˈbɜːdn 
hɛlθ ˈsɪstɪm ænd ˈhɒspɪtlz
ˈlɪmɪtɪd ˈbɛnɪfɪts 
kəmˈpeəd wɪð 
ˈmæsɪv pəʊˈtɛnʃəl hɛlθ kɒsts 
ˈsækrɪfaɪs 
ɪn ˈɔːdə tuː 
ɪnˈʃʊə 
ˈgreɪtə sɪˈkjʊərɪti 
vjuːd ˈdɪfrəntli 
hɪsˈtɒrɪkəl ˈriːznz

Vocabulary Practice

I recommend getting a pencil and piece of paper because that aids memory. Then write down the missing vocabulary from my sample answer in your notebook:

Many today are c_______________r a c________________n on t_________________________s due to their health effects. In my opinion, since t__________o offers f_______________________s, such a p______________n would be j___________d.

O_____________s of such a p_______y argue that it c__________s with individual and economic freedom. Firstly, individuals should have the r_______t to live their life as they wish a____________s they are not h_______g others. This is the b_____________t that u___________s most d__________________s and smoking cigarettes f_________________________e of an individual’s rights. Secondly, there is an economic f______r. Tobacco companies p_______e billions of cigarettes a year, providing e______________t and p________________________________________s. If these companies were s_______________d to d_____________________y and s___________n, it would have c________________________s on the economies of both d____________________________________s. The economic d______________s alone could, t_____________y, do more harm than good.

However, tobacco is an a_________________y harmful product in its effects. I________________o other n_____________s, such as c__________e, a_____________l, and c__________s, there is no d________________________n produced by smoking cigarettes or c_________________o. Tobacco c____________________e, which is h___________________e and e_____________s a c______________________y, and that is the reason it has become such a c______________t. Moreover, there are meaningful health problems that for smokers a____________s u__________________s through s__________________e. It is c_________n for long-time smokers to s______________m a w_________________________m, c______________s like e____________a, and i________________k for l_______________r. These m____________s place an a_______________n on the h______________________________s.

The l________________s of cigarettes c________________h the m__________________________s for individuals and society justify the ban. Individuals have always had to s____________e elements of freedom i____________o e_______________________y and this issue is only v_____________________y for h____________________s.

Listening Practice

Learn more about this topic by watching videos from The New York Times YouTube channel below and practice with these activities:

Reading Practice

Read more about this topic and use these ideas to practice:

Speaking Practice

Practice with the following speaking questions from the real IELTS speaking exam:

Health

  1. How can people improve their physical health?
  2. What about their mental health?
  3. In what ways can teachers encourage students to do sports?
  4. What is the role of doctors in raising health awareness?
  5. Can social media also play a role?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS essay topic below:

Some think that governments should tax unhealthy foods to encourage people to eat healthier.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?


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