IELTS Writing Sample #11

Smokers can cause themselves serious health problems. The choice to smoke is made freely and with knowledge of dangers.
Smokers should therefore expect to pay more for medical treatment than non-smokers.

To what extent do you agree with this statement?

  • You should write at least 250 words.
  • You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

model answer:

Everyone has the choice of being a smoker or not. The people who choose to smoke do so knowing there is a risk of causing harmful damage to themselves. However, I do not entirely agree that these people should have to pay more to receive all the medical treatment they need.

I think there are many situations in which a medical problem has nothing to do with whether a person smokes or not. In these cases, where an illness has no relation to smoking, then I believe that smokers should not be required to pay more than other people for their medical treatment. Most car accidents, for example, have no connection with smoking, and the people who are injured ought to have the same medical help, regardless of the cost. And what about the common flu - it does not seem justifiable to me that a smoker should have to pay more to see a doctor for an illness we can all contract.

On the other hand, I agree that a smoker should pay more than a non-smoker for the necessary treatment of any condition which has been caused by smoking. The principle that people should take responsibility for their own actions is a good one. Consequently, if a person chooses to smoke knowing that this habit can cause serious health problems, then there is no reason why the community or an insurance company should have to pay for medical treatment for an illness which could have been avoided.
In many countries, cigarette packets have a clear warning that smoking can cause health problems and so no smoker can claim not to know the danger. Lung cancer is sometimes a fatal disease and the treatment is both lengthy and expensive, and it is unfair for the smoker to expect the hospital or the community to carry the cost. In fact, it could also be argued that those who smoke in public should be asked to pay extra because of the illness caused to passive smokers.

In conclusion, I feel that smokers should pay more in cases related to smoking, but for any other illness they should pay the same as anyone else.

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