Life as one of the world’s longest-serving leaders can be a drag, but few labours have been more difficult to overcome for Prime Minister Hun Sen than quitting smoking.
Using the podium at the inauguration of a controversial hydropower dam yesterday to voice his concerns, Hun Sen said he had tried, and failed, to stub out 10 times.
Eleven, he added, was the magic number.
“Now I’m struggling to quit smoking cigarettes. I’m not sure whether it will be successful or not because [I’ve tried] about 10 times already,” he said. “I cut down to about three cigarettes per day and now I’m trying to stop completely.… This time should be the last one.”
There would be added bonuses to quitting, he said, including no longer being hassled by generals for a spare fag.
Royal Cambodian Armed Forces commander-in-chief “Pol Saroeun is the type of smoker who never has cigarettes and is always asking [for smokes] from others”, he said.
The announcement coincides with a national campaign to ban smoking in public places.