New Smoking Ban Shakes Up Your British English Learning! Ep 737

A dark coloured image of a fist gripping a smoking cigarette, the forearm is held with chains. British Culture and English: Listen to Our Podcast.

๐Ÿ“ Author: Hilary

๐Ÿ“… Published:

๐Ÿ’ฌ 3514 words โ–ช๏ธ โณ Reading Time 18 min

๐Ÿ“ฅ Download MP3 & PDF 11.7 Mb โ–ช๏ธ ๐Ÿ‘“ Read Transcript โ–ช๏ธ ๐ŸŽง Listen to Lesson

English Listening Practice Exploring Ideas On Freedom Vs. Health

Imagine a generation untouched by tobacco! ๐ŸŽง In today's lesson, while we learn British English, we explore the debate on the UK's smoking laws.

Why This Lesson?

  • ๐Ÿšญ Understand the new UK smoking ban
  • ๐ŸŽง Boost your British english conversation skills
  • ๐Ÿ“š Learn advanced vocabulary & phrases
  • ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง Find out what the British think about this
  • ๐ŸŽ“ Practical learning through listening

โœ” Lesson transcript:

The greatest public health triumphs of the last century include curbs on smoking.
โญ Bill Gates

Tired of English lessons that bore you to tears? Get ready for a riveting exploration of British culture, personal freedom, and government intervention with our latest English listening lesson!

This type of English lesson isn't just about improving your English; it's a deep dive into the UK's bold strategies against smoking, interwoven with powerful vocabulary sessions. As we help you navigate this much debated topic, you'll effortlessly absorb English, just by listening. Perfect for those who crave real-world context in their language learning.

At the end of the day, we are accountable to ourselves - our success is a result of what we do.
โญ Catherine Pulsifer

๐ŸŒŸ Whether you're just starting out and eager to understand basic terms or an advanced learner refining fluency, this lesson is just right for you! It's time to speak and listen to British English with confidence. Follow Adept English today and start improving your language skills while keeping up with current events! ๐ŸŽ“๐Ÿšญ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง

More About This Lesson

Learn English effectively by joining us in a vibrant discussion on the UK's smoking ban. Explore how UK law intertwines with public health and personal freedom, offering an interesting way to improve your language skills.

Governments exist to protect the rights of minorities. The loved and the rich need no protection: they have many friends and few enemies.
โญ Wendell Phillips

This lesson is packed with benefits for every English learner. Get ready to sharpen your understanding of British culture, enhance your vocabulary, and refine your debating skillsโ€”all through one engaging topic.

  1. Exposure to Current Topics - You engage with modern societal issues.
  2. Vocabulary Expansion - You learn specific terms like "ban" and "addiction."
  3. Listening Practice - You improve listening skills through repeated exposure.
  4. Understanding Arguments - You grasp debate on government roles in personal choices.
  5. Accent Exposure - You hear a Received Pronunciation accent from Prue Leith.
  6. Cultural Insights - You gain insight into UK public health policies and debates.
  7. Discussion Participation - You can form and express opinions on complex issues.
  8. Contextual Learning - You connect vocabulary to real-world contexts.
  9. Critical Thinking - You analyze different viewpoints on personal freedom.
  10. Repetition for Retention - You're advised to listen multiple times for better retention.
Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life.
โญ Brooke Shields

This lesson will not only improve your English skills but also provide you with a deeper understanding of global issues. The UK's stance on smoking offers a compelling case study in balancing public health with personal freedoms, relevant in discussions worldwide.

๐ŸŽง Follow and subscribe to our podcast for more fascinating lessons that make learning English fun and relevant! Keep listening and discover how easy and enjoyable improving your English can be!

Questions You Might Have...

  1. How does the UK's smoking ban help in learning English? The UK's smoking ban is a topical issue that involves vocabulary related to health, law, and personal rights. As you explore this topic, you engage with new phrases and terms which enhances your language skills. By listening to discussions and debates about the ban, you immerse yourself in English, learning how arguments are structured and opinions are expressed in British English.
  2. What is the goal of the UK government's smoking ban? The goal of the UK government's smoking ban is to create a smoke-free future for the next generation. Specifically, by 2027, it will be illegal for anyone born after 2009 to purchase cigarettes. This policy aims to reduce health-related costs and prevent smoking-related diseases, such as lung cancer, which remain a significant burden on the NHS.
  3. Why hasn't smoking been completely banned in the UK if it's so harmful? While smoking is extremely harmful, completely banning it is complicated due to issues of personal freedom and the challenge of enforcing such a ban. Many people are addicted and would face severe withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, the government collects significant revenue from tobacco taxes, which complicates decisions on a full ban despite the healthcare costs.
  4. How can listening to debates on public health vs. personal freedom improve my English? Listening to debates helps you understand complex arguments and exposes you to a variety of opinions and sophisticated language. This method enhances your critical thinking and listening skills in English, as you hear native speakers discuss serious topics, using idiomatic expressions and advanced vocabulary.
  5. Where can I find more English audio lessons that discuss real-life issues like the smoking ban? You can find more English audio lessons on websites like Adept English, which offer podcasts and audio lessons discussing current events and real-life issues. These resources allow you to practice listening skills and learn vocabulary relevant to specific topics, aiding fluency and comprehension in English.

Navigating British English is like embarking on a smoky trek through a foggy London day; we clear the air as we explore how the UK's smoking ban unravels the tangle of public health and personal freedom, learning as we go.

Most Unusual Words:

  • Ban: A rule or law that says you cannot do something.
  • Generation: A group of people roughly the same age.
  • Addiction: When you cannot stop doing something because your body or mind strongly needs it.
  • Withdrawal: The difficult feelings or symptoms that occur when you stop using an addictive substance.
  • Nanny State: When the government makes decisions for people like a nanny would for children, often seen as overprotective.
  • Object: To disagree or say that you do not approve of something.
  • Tax: Money that you have to pay to the government so that it can pay for services like schools and roads.
  • Phases: Stages or steps in a process of change.
  • Intervene: To become involved in a situation in order to help or change it.
  • Fizzy Drinks: Soft drinks that have bubbles of gas in them.

Most Frequently Used Words:


Listen To The Audio Lesson Now

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Transcript: New Smoking Ban Shakes Up Your British English Learning

From Bans to Freedom: Discussing Personal Choice in English

Hi there. Today an interesting question. Do you smoke? If you do, it might look a bit like this. Except I don't smoke and actually this is a pen. But you get the idea. That's 'smoking' or the verb 'to smoke'. And given that smoking is so bad for your health, should government stop us from smoking? In today's podcast, let's talk about the UK government's new plan, strategy to phase out smoking. By 2027, it will be illegal, against the law in the UK for anyone born after 2009 to buy cigarettes. It's a gradual but bold move to ensure that future generations are smoke-free. But this raises the question. How much should governments decide our personal choices for us? How involved should government be in your personal habits? In this podcast, vocabulary and phrases about smoking, personal freedom and government interventions - governments telling people what to do, in other words. This is a hot topic in the UK after Rishi Sunak's ban on smoking. It was decided this week that it will be law by 2027. A ban, B-A-N, means 'a rule', 'a rule against', 'a law which says you can't do something'. That is a 'ban'. And Rishi Sunak's ban on smoking in the UK is quite clever. It'll happen over time. It's not immediate. But the bigger question is, can and should governments stop us from doing things like smoking? So I'm giving you an interesting and current topic to listen to while you practise your English language listening. Don't forget, listen to this podcast a number of times to practise and understand any new words and phrases while you listen. And if you want to know how that works, try podcast 736.

At the end of this podcast, I'll share an interesting viewpoint from Prue Leith, known from the Great British Bake Off, if you know her at all. She speaks about why she supports the government's new tough regulations on lifestyle. It's a perspective that might just change your mind.

Hello, Iโ€™m Hilary, and youโ€™re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.

Smoking kills 80,000 people every year in the UK

So it's been 70 years since scientists first linked smoking to diseases like lung cancer. And over the years since, the evidence has only grown and grown. It's bad for our health. Smoking isn't just a habit. It's an exposure to over 70 cancer-causing chemicals with every puff. And smoking causes so much death and suffering. People get ill, people die. And it costs billions of pounds to our NHS, our health service in other words. It's no wonder there's a push to stop it. According to the BBC News website, smoking causes around 80,000 deaths per year across the UK and it costs the NHS and the economy an estimated 17 billion pounds every year. No wonder governments want to do something about it.


An image of a woman with a shopping cart full of processed food. English Learning: Freedom and Government Choices.

ยฉ๏ธ Adept English 2024

How the UK will gradually ban smoking

How will Rishi Sunak's law work? Well, this law will mean that anyone born from onwards will never be able to buy cigarettes legally in the UK. So they aren't making a law against smoking. That would be too difficult to enforce. And they're not stopping people born from 2009 onwards from buying cigarettes abroad and bringing them into the UK. It will just be illegal for people of that age and younger to buy cigarettes - that 'generation'. It means a group of people of roughly the same age. And if we talk about the 'generations', we're talking about ages which are around 30 years apart. The average age where people might have children. That's a 'generation'. But we'll hopefully ensure that future 'generations' of people don't smoke.

Why hasn't smoking been banned already?

So if smoking is so bad for us, why hasn't it been banned already?

A number of points here, I think. It's really, really difficult for people to give up smoking. It's an 'addiction'. That's A-D-D-I-C-T-I-O-N. You're 'addicted'. And that means that it's really hard to give up. People have to go through what's known as 'withdrawal'. W-I-T-H-D-R-A-W-A-L. And that means you're coming off a drug and experiencing negative effects. That's 'withdrawal'. So a sudden and complete ban on smoking. Can you imagine? It would be a 'mass forced drug withdrawal'. Stopping smoking makes people very grumpy. There might be public disorder, 'road rage', or other things happening that are connected to everyone giving up smoking at once. There might be all kinds of madness. And smokers would argue for their right to carry on, probably.

Another reason that's usually given for not banning smoking - tobacco companies pay the government lots of 'tax', TAX. Tobacco is what's inside a cigarette. And tobacco companies are the businesses that make and sell cigarettes. The 'tax' that is received from tobacco companies is far, far less than it costs us in health care in the UK. So tobacco tax is less than the cost to the NHS of treating people with lung diseases as a result of smoking. ASH, which is a group in the UK which stands for 'Action on Smoking and Health', say that the UK economy would be better off by ยฃ13 billion if people gave up smoking. So perhaps it was once true that tobacco tax covered the cost of health care, but it is no longer true.

But the main reason for not banning smoking, belief in personal choice, personal freedom. We're all adults and we make decisions for ourselves, even though sometimes that may do us harm. That's the argument that many people put. And this is at the heart of any debate over personal freedom versus public health concerns.

Donโ€™t forget - there are 100s of other podcasts to download!

Just a reminder, if you're enjoying this podcast and you like listening to interesting topics while you learn English, there are hundreds more podcasts on our website and you can buy them in bundles of 50. You know where to go, it's all on our Courses page at

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UK Government measures that met resistance, but proved successful

So there have been various other times where the UK government has intervened. They've taken a stand, they've put laws in that stop people from doing things, that ban certain activities. And all the time people have objected. 'To object', O-B-J-E-C-T, means you 'complain against' it, you 'speak up against' something. That's 'to object'. You 'make an objection'.

When they first came out, people objected to laws about drink driving. That 'challenged people's personal freedoms', apparently! The same with the law requiring us to wear seat belts in cars. Objecting to those sorts of laws seems a bit silly now, doesn't it? But people did at the time. I don't really think that wearing a seat belt is 'taking away someone's personal freedom'. It's just sensible. Another one, banning smoking in public spaces. That became law in 2007 in the UK. Again, there were big objections at the time but this has really worked to reduce ill health and smoking related deaths. It's been successful. The last one in 2018, the UK government introduced what was known as 'the sugar tax'. They put a ban on fizzy drinks like Coca-Cola and lemonade containing more than a certain level of sugar. Companies who make those fizzy drinks objected massively. But since then, they have just got on with quietly making drinks with less sugar in them. No big problem. So yes, our government is interfering with personal choices. But actually, all these measures have been quite successful in improving people's health. It's helping people to live longer when they don't necessarily make good choices for themselves.

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Nanny state" or necessary protection?

Now there's a phrase in English that's used quite a lot in the newspapers. They all use the phrase 'nanny state'. N-A-N-N-Y S-T-A-T-E. I'll explain that. The word 'state' in this context means 'a country and its government'. Think of the 'United States' of America. So 'state' means 'government and country' or in the case of America, 'part of a country'. If it's a 'nanny state'? Well 'a nanny' is a person that you pay to look after your children. So we might talk about children being 'nannied'. Happens especially in rich and well-off families, I think. So the meaning here of 'nanny state' or 'the nanny state' - it's the viewpoint that the government is treating people like children, making choices for people instead of letting them make their own choice. So here, the 'nanny state' is telling us that we can't make the choice to smoke, not if we're born after 2009 onwards. That doesn't trouble me, actually!

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And normally, I would be of the opinion that I'd rather make my own choice than go with what the 'nanny state' decides for me. But I caught an interview on the radio the other morning with Prue Leith. She was being asked about this. You may not know her, but if you do, it's because you'll have seen her on the UK version of the Great British Bake Off. She's one of the judges. With Paul Hollywood. I know lots of countries have their own version of Bake Off. Anyway, I rather like Prue Leith.

Prue Leithโ€™s opinion on government bans to promote health

And here's what she had to say on the smoking ban. The link is in the transcript. And if you listen to it, you get a chance to hear Prue Leith say these things. If you listen to the clip of Prue Leith, it's a chance to hear quite an upper-class British accent. Certainly Received Pronunciation. She's quite posh, Prue Leith. She says,

"The whole idea that we must avoid nanny government is absolute nonsense. If we can't look after ourselves, somebody has to look after us. And if the government is spending money, our money, to rectify our foolishness, then they've got every right to stop us being foolish." Prue Leith also thinks that governments should do more about the things that make us fat, ultra-processed foods. She says, "I think they should do anything they can, frankly, to save the country money and save lives." I'm quite inclined to agree with Prue Leith on this.


What are your thoughts? Are you a smoker? And have you ever tried to quit? How do you feel about the government telling us what to do? We are eager to hear your views. What do you think of a ban on smoking? And has this happened in your country? Or is personal freedom your mantra?

Let us know. Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at



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