The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has been warning people for years: smoking cigarettes is bad for your health. Beginning in 1965, the CDC required that warning labels be placed in small letters on the side of every package of cigarettes sold in the U.S. These warning labels read, “Caution: Cigarette Smoking May Be Hazardous to Your Health.” The CDC updated its policy steadily from then and by 1981 had announced to the public that cigarette smoking did indeed cause cancer and other terrible conditions. However, these warnings have largely fallen on deaf ears, as young people continue to try cigarettes and begin to smoke regularly despite the mounting evidence of its risk.
Julia: Hey, Becky. I’m having a problem with my boyfriend. I need your advice.
Becky: I don’t think so, Julia. I would really love to help you, but we’ve been through this so many times with all of your past boyfriends. Every other time you’ve come to me for advice, it just falls on deaf ears.
Julia: That’s not true! I listen to your advice as take it but the same things keep happening with each new boyfriend I have. They are always so jealous of my ex-boyfriends even though we’ve broken up.
Becky: Well, if you can remember, my advice is usually to stay single for a while in between relationships. You need time to get over one guy before you get involved with the next one. That might help you avoid this recurring problem.
Julia: Hmm, maybe you’re right. I think I have to break up with my boyfriend. It’s not working out and there’s this cute new guy in my physics class that I’ve been talking to….
Becky: See what I mean?! You can’t be helped!
to fall on deaf ears is an expression that is used when warnings or advice are ignored by the person/people receiving it.
In example 1, the advice from the CDC falls on deaf ears because people continue to smoke cigarettes despite scientific evidence of its harm.
In example 2, Becky does not want to give Julia advice anymore because Julia never takes it and continues making the same mistakes.
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