The CEO of cigarette giant Philip Morris International said kicking the smoking habit isn’t that tough, though he acknowledged that cigarettes are bad for one’s health and are addictive.
Louis C. Camilleri’s comment was made to nurse Elisabeth Gundersen of the University of California- San Francisco, one of many members of anti-tobacco groups who attended Philip Morris’ shareholder meeting in New York Wednesday. She said one of her patients told her last week “that of all the additions he’s beaten — crack, cocaine, meth — cigarettes have been the most difficult,” reports Michael Felberbaum of The Associated Press.
Camilleri, right, responded, “We take our responsibility very seriously, and I don’t think we get enough recognition for the efforts we make to ensure that there is effective worldwide regulation of a product that is harmful and that is addictive. Nevertheless, whilst it is addictive, it is not that hard to quit. . . . There are more previous smokers in America today than current smokers.” Camilleri is a longtime smoker.
Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, called Camilleri’s comments the “most irresponsible form of corporate double-speak.”
Worldwide, there are 1 billion tobacco users, according to the World Health Organization. The U.S. Public Health Service has said about 45 percent of American smokers try to quit every year, but only 4 to 7 percent are successful. About 25 percent of Kentucky adults smoke, the highest percentage nationwide, according to Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. William Hacker. (Read more)