Cigarettes ‘not that hard to quit’? Pffft, say health experts

ANTI-SMOKING advocates were in uproar today after the head of tobacco company Phillip Morris International told a cancer nurse that smoking is “not that hard to quit”.

CEO Louis Camilleri made the claim yesterday at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in New York, reported.

“Whilst [smoking] is addictive, it is not that hard to quit. There are more previous smokers in America today than current smokers,” he said.

Giving up smoking

Giving up smoking

Mr Camilleri – himself a long-time smoker – made the remarks after Elisabeth Gundersen, a San Francisco nurse, spoke at the meeting about the human cost of smoking and cited statistics that tobacco kills five million people worldwide each year.

Health experts refuted Mr Camilleri’s claims today.

“Our statistics in this country show that, for the most part, our ability nationwide to reduce the number of chronic smokers has hit a roadblock,” he added.

More than 20 per cent of American adults smoke, according to government figures.

“[Mr Camilleri’s] statement continues the tobacco industry’s long history of denying or downplaying the addictiveness and health risks of its products,” Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids president Matthew L Myers told ABC News.

Phillip Morris reiterated its position today that “tobacco products are harmful and addictive”.

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