Tobacco Titan Declares Smoking Is ‘Not That Hard to Quit’

Speaking at a shareholders meeting in New York, the head of global tobacco giant Philip Morris International declared Wednesday that smoking is “not that hard to quit.”

The company’s chief executive, Louis Camilleri, made the remark in response to an anti-tobacco activist nurse attending the meeting who said a patient told her that tobacco was harder to quit than any other drug, including crack cocaine. Camilleri also acknowledged, however, that tobacco is addictive, the London-based Daily Mail reports.

The newspaper said Camilleri is a longtime smoker, although he was quoted in 2009 as saying that he gave up the habit once, for three months, when he was suffering from a cold.

Smoking kills about 443,000 Americans every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency says another 8.6 million Americans have serious smoking-related illnesses. Despite the risks, about 46.6 million U.S. adults smoke cigarettes.

According to the U.S. Public Health Service, 45 percent of American smokers try to quit each year, but only 4 percent to 7 percent are successful.

Camilleri, who earned $20.6 million last year, complained that the tobacco industry gets too little credit 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,” he said. “There are more previous smokers in America today than current smokers.”

The president of the advocacy group Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Matthew Myers, expressed outrage at Camilleri’s comments. “Study after study has documented the powerful addiction to cigarettes is one of the most difficult to overcome of any drug anywhere in the world. It is stunning in the face of overwhelming science for the leader of the world’s largest private tobacco company to deny how difficult and addictive cigarettes are.”

Print Print  

One comment to “Tobacco Titan Declares Smoking Is ‘Not That Hard to Quit’”

  1. Gene

    >>”whilst it is addictive, it is not that hard to quit”

    If that were true, Mr. Camilleri wouldn’t have a business.

    Philip Morris would drop like a rock.

Leave a comment