Question 19 - Upper Level: Reading Comprehension Practice Test for the ISEE

What is the main idea of the attached passage?

\[\begin{array}{} {1} &\;\; \text{Several generations ago, cigarettes and smoking did not} \\ {2} & \;\;\text{carry the stigma that they do today. Many people smoked} \\ {3} & \;\;\text{without realizing the harmful effects it had on the human} \\ {4} & \;\;\text{body. Some early cigarette companies even touted their} \\ {5} &\;\; \text{brand as being healthy, wanting more people to choose their} \\ {6} & \;\;\text{product. Because it wasn’t seen as harmful during that time,} \\ {7} & \;\;\text{smoking was allowed in restaurants, offices, and even} \\ {8} & \;\;\text{hospitals. Today, we know better. Still, the CDC estimates} \\ {9} & \;\;\text{that 18 in every 100 Americans are smokers, and that over} \\ {10} & \;\;\text{16 million Americans live with smoking-related illnesses.} \\ \end{array}\] \[\begin{array}{} {11} &\;\; \text{While the possibility of lung cancer is generally the biggest} \\ {12} & \;\;\text{concern for smokers, a disease known as COPD should also} \\ {13} & \;\;\text{be taken into account. COPD, or chronic obstructive} \\ {14} & \;\;\text{pulmonary disease, is a lung disease that interrupts proper} \\ {15} &\;\; \text{air-flow within the lungs, causing the sufferer to be} \\ {16} & \;\;\text{chronically short-of-breath. The idea of struggling to breathe} \\ {17} & \;\;\text{on a daily basis should be enough to make many people} \\ {18} & \;\;\text{toss their cigarettes right out of the window!} \\ \end{array}\] \[\begin{array}{} {19} &\;\; \text{COPD is characterized by shortness of breath, coughing,} \\ {20} & \;\;\text{chest tightness, and the production of respiratory mucus,} \\ {21} & \;\;\text{known as sputum. While other factors such as pollution,} \\ {22} & \;\;\text{genetics, and prolonged exposure to harmful fumes can} \\ {23} &\;\; \text{cause COPD, the main cause of this disease is smoking. In} \\ {24} & \;\;\text{fact, statistics show that almost half of lifelong smokers will} \\ {25} & \;\;\text{be diagnosed with COPD. Once this disease has developed} \\ {26} & \;\;\text{in the respiratory system, it is very difficult to recover from. A} \\ {27} &\;\; \text{degenerative disease, COPD often requires the sufferer to} \\ {28} & \;\;\text{utilize physical therapy, medications, and supplemental} \\ {29} & \;\;\text{oxygen. In very serious cases, surgeries such as lung} \\ {30} & \;\;\text{transplants are necessary. Unfortunately, many COPD} \\ {31} &\;\; \text{sufferers continue to smoke, making it very difficult to qualify} \\ {32} & \;\;\text{for a transplant.} \\ \end{array}\] \[\begin{array}{} {33} &\;\; \text{Even if you have smoked for many years, it is never too late} \\ {34} & \;\;\text{to quit. Patients who have already been diagnosed with} \\ {35} & \;\;\text{COPD should not assume they have missed their chance, as} \\ {36} & \;\;\text{smoking cessation is shown to significantly improve the} \\ {37} &\;\; \text{symptoms of COPD. Even if the disease can never be fully} \\ {38} & \;\;\text{reversed, smoking should at least be stopped in order to} \\ {39} & \;\;\text{prevent symptoms from worsening over time. Many} \\ {40} & \;\;\text{healthcare centers across the country provide smoking} \\ {41} &\;\; \text{cessation programs for those who want to quit but have been} \\ {42} & \;\;\text{unsuccessful on their own. Taking advantage of these, or} \\ {43} & \;\;\text{similar, programs can help people reclaim a healthy, smoke-} \\ {44} & \;\;\text{free lifestyle.} \\ \end{array}\]

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