Jingjing: There you are, Mark. Are you ready to grab a bite to eat?
Mark: Whenever you are. I missed breakfast—so, the sooner the better.
Jingjing: I'm all set. Let's jet.
Mark: Let me just grab my coat.
Jingjing: Um, have you been smoking?
Mark: Nah, it's probably this jacket. I was waiting for the bus, and there were some people smoking around me. I didn't bother to move upwind from them.
Jingjing: That's a relief. I was worried that you'd started up the habit.
Mark: Well, I used to smoke—for more than 10 years, actually.
Jingjing: Were you a heavy smoker?
Mark: I wasn't a chimney or anything. I know guys who go through a pack a day, or more. For me, a pack would last two or three days, unless I was stressed out. That's all over now.
Jingjing: Was it hard to quit?
Mark: I was lucky. I bought a vape pen when I was in America for three months. The last three weeks there, I had nothing to do. So, I just transitioned into vaping.
Jingjing: Oh, that's not the same as quitting.
Mark: No. Let's be honest, vaping delivers nicotine. But I'm glad to keep all that tar out of my system, and not have that foul smell hanging around me, most of the time.
Jingjing: Yeah, it's pretty unpleasant. So, vaping is just like smoking, then?
Mark: Well, there's a lot less nicotine in e-juice—that's the stuff that goes into a vape pen or a mod. I have a mod now.
Jingjing: Well, then it's a small step in the right direction.
Mark: Uh huh. I admire people who can quit altogether.
New words: 习语短语
someone who smokes all the time
go through 消耗
vape pen 笔式电子烟
a kind of electric cigarette, shaped like a pen
the drug found in cigarettes
out of my system out of my body
the liquid used in electric cigarettes
another kind of electric cigarette, box-shaped
Jingjing and Mark are at the restaurant.
Jingjing: Is this table ok?
Mark: Sure. I actually like being near the door.
Jingjing: Just don't step outside for a smoke. I'm keeping an eye on you from now on.
Mark: Don't worry about it. I've gone for more than a year already. Besides, it's great that not so many people smoke in public nowadays.
Jingjing: You said it. I remember, just a few years ago, people would light up in restaurants and all sorts of places.
Mark: Yeah, that took a few years to change. But, now, people are a lot more considerate.
Jingjing: Yep. An article I read in China Daily said that there are 1 percent fewer smokers in Beijing than there were two years ago.
Mark: That's a big decrease.
Jingjing: It is: 200,000 fewer people smoking. The article also said the public smoking ban is 95% effective now. In 2015, only 77% of public places passed inspection.
Mark: It's definitely an improvement, not having second-hand smoke around you when you go out to eat.
Jingjing: What's more, we can hope that fewer teenagers will try cigarettes.
Mark: That's an important change. If people no longer think of it as normal to smoke, there could be a steady decrease in the number of new smokers.
Jingjing: Let's hope our public places here in Beijing get better and better.
New words: 习语短语
keeping an eye on you 监督你
watching someone to make sure they don't do something bad
light up 点燃烟
start smoking a cigarette
thoughtful of others, keeping people comfortable
change from a large number to a smaller number
when officials go to see if people are following rules
second-hand smoke 二手烟
smoke in the air, breathed by people who aren't smoking