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Since smoking-related illnesses are a serious health problem

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Joined: 23 Oct 2018
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Re: Since smoking-related illnesses are a serious health problem  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Oct 2018, 13:27
I just encountered this problem on a practice test and I must say... I hate this question.

I am also still convinced that the answer choice should be B. If the amount of nicotine in most cigarettes is "somewhat" (whatever that means) less than the maximum amount, this would show that a decrease in nicotine has been ineffective previously. By reducing the maximum nicotine permitted by law, the effect will either be negligible on the amount of nicotine per cigarette (depending on the definition of "somewhat") or be relatively ineffective based on the evidence from answer choice B.

I don't understand how answer choice E is even relevant. The Normarkian government already knows that smoking-related illness is caused by the tar in cigarette smoke and are targeting nicotine to help break the addiction. The reduction of incidence of smoking-related illness was supposed to come directly from the reduction of the maximum nicotine amount. The reduction is intended to come over a long period of time as their citizens become less addicted to nicotine and have an easier time breaking the habit.
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Since smoking-related illnesses are a serious health problem  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Oct 2018, 23:24
atuck wrote:
I just encountered this problem on a practice test and I must say... I hate this question.

I am also still convinced that the answer choice should be B. If the amount of nicotine in most cigarettes is "somewhat" (whatever that means) less than the maximum amount, this would show that a decrease in nicotine has been ineffective previously. By reducing the maximum nicotine permitted by law, the effect will either be negligible on the amount of nicotine per cigarette (depending on the definition of "somewhat") or be relatively ineffective based on the evidence from answer choice B.

I don't understand how answer choice E is even relevant. The Normarkian government already knows that smoking-related illness is caused by the tar in cigarette smoke and are targeting nicotine to help break the addiction. The reduction of incidence of smoking-related illness was supposed to come directly from the reduction of the maximum nicotine amount. The reduction is intended to come over a long period of time as their citizens become less addicted to nicotine and have an easier time breaking the habit.

The govt doesn't know tar is the cause of illness. It's not stated in the premise

People are addicted to nicotine. If the govt reduces the nicotine per cigarette , people will smoke more cig. Let's say 10 cig contains 10 units of niconite and 10 units of tar smoke.
Now since govt reduces the nicotine but tar remains the same, people are smoking 20 cig which contains 10 units of nicotine and 20 units of tar.

The proposal will increase the illness
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Since smoking-related illnesses are a serious health problem  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Oct 2018, 02:57
atuck wrote:
I just encountered this problem on a practice test and I must say... I hate this question.

I am also still convinced that the answer choice should be B. If the amount of nicotine in most cigarettes is "somewhat" (whatever that means) less than the maximum amount, this would show that a decrease in nicotine has been ineffective previously. By reducing the maximum nicotine permitted by law, the effect will either be negligible on the amount of nicotine per cigarette (depending on the definition of "somewhat") or be relatively ineffective based on the evidence from answer choice B.

I don't understand how answer choice E is even relevant. The Normarkian government already knows that smoking-related illness is caused by the tar in cigarette smoke and are targeting nicotine to help break the addiction. The reduction of incidence of smoking-related illness was supposed to come directly from the reduction of the maximum nicotine amount. The reduction is intended to come over a long period of time as their citizens become less addicted to nicotine and have an easier time breaking the habit.


Hi!

Let's rewind a little bit and understand the given situation, premise(s), and the conclusion. This understanding will help us evaluate the full impact of answer choice better. :)

Situation:

1. Smoking-related illnesses = serious health problems in Normark
2. Addiction to nicotine = reason that many people are not successfully able to quit smoking
3. Govt.'s plan to resolve problem stated in point 2 = reduce the max. allowable qty. of nicotine per cigarette by half over the next 5 yrs

Premise:

Reducing qty. of nicotine will probably cause people addicted to nicotine to smoke more cigarettes.

Conclusion:

Therefore implementing the plan is not likely to reduce the incidence of smoking related illnesses.

Choice B: most cigarettes currently sold in Normark contain somewhat less than the maximum amount of nicotine permitted by law.

The dictionary meaning of "somewhat" is "to some extent/degree". Doesn't really clarify much, does it?! :)

I think for the sake of this discussion we can take two cases - a case in which the current amount of nicotine/cigarette is somewhat less = NOT significantly less than the current limit & a case in which the current amount of nicotine/cigarette is somewhat less = SIGNIFICANTLY less than the current limit.

Scenario 1: Let's say that the current max. allowable limit for nicotine/cigarette is 100 units, but most cigarettes currently have 98 units/cigarette (NOT significantly less than the current limit). In this case, over the 5 years, the max. limit will come down to 50 units. So, there will likely be a noticeable reduction in the amount of nicotine used per cigarette. If this situation is reached, as per the author's premise (an opinion given by the author), people addicted to nicotine will end up smoking more cigarettes to get their fix. However, in this case too, we just have the author's opinion that they will end up smoking more cigarettes. We don't actually find a reason to believe that they will actually start doing so. All this does is tell us that that IF the author is right in his understanding of the behavior of nicotine addicted people, then this situation will provide circumstances conducive to exercising that behavior.

Scenario 2: Again the current max. allowable limit for nicotine/cigarette is 100 units, but most cigarettes currently have only 50 units/cigarette (SIGNIFICANTLY less than the current limit). In this case too, over the 5 years, the max. limit will come down to 50 units. So, there will likely be NO noticeable change in the amount of nicotine used per cigarette. So, people will still get a similar amount of nicotine/per cigarette. In this case, the author's premise that people addicted to smoking will probably smoke more cigarettes is not likely to be true - at least they do NOT need to do so to get a comparable amount of nicotine they were getting before the reduction. So, this case, if anything possibly WEAKENS the given premise, which is an opinion in this particular argument. Therefore, the author can no longer cite this premise to draw the given conclusion. Basically, the whole chain of events is broken at the second step : (non-noticeable) Reduction in nicotine --> Increase in smoking by people addicted to nicotine --> Conclusion.

So, you see, the impact of choice B is rather complicated, and frankly speaking, quite confusing.

Now, let's consider Choice E: The main cause of smoking-related illnesses is not nicotine but tar in cigarette smoke.

This one is hard to rule out because it overrides all nicotine related situations and says that it does not matter what the government keeps doing with nicotine as tar is the culprit behind the smoking related illnesses. And no, it is not given to us in the argument that the government is aware that tar is the main culprit. The argument very cleverly never goes in to the discussion of actual cause. So, if we factor in the information given in choice E, the government will fail in addressing the cause, and, hence, this choice supports the conclusion directly without interfering with the other opinion given as the premise.

I can see why Choice E is a clear winner. Having said that, I do understand the confusion over Choice B, and I hope this post has been able to provide some clarity.

Cheers!

NS
GMAT Club Bot
Since smoking-related illnesses are a serious health problem &nbs [#permalink] 24 Oct 2018, 02:57

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