Hun Sen Hopes 11th Time Lucky to Quit Smoking

Prime Minister Hun Sen, a life-long cigarette smoker, on Thursday reiterated his determination to kick the habit but admitted that after 10 failed attempts he was not optimistic about his chances.

One of the greatest hurdles to giving up, he said, had been the negative effect abstinence had on his chess-playing skills.

“During chess matches, [I] lose more matches when [I] am not smoking cigarettes,” he said, adding that smoking aids his ability to conceive winning strategies.

“[I] want to end it, but it is difficult to stop as now it is a struggle,” he said, adding that he had at least managed to cut down to just three cigarettes a day and does not smoke at home. “[My] house no longer smells of smoke, so children can come close [to me].”

E-cigarettes have become a popular alternative to cigarettes and proponents argue that since they do not contain harmful tobacco they are the lesser of two evils and can even help users to quit altogether.

However, the prime minister last month approved a ban on e-cigarettes, as well as the flavored tobacco known as shisha, due to their increasing popularity among young Cambodians.

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