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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 July, 2003, 01:11 GMT 02:11 UK
Cambodia PM tops smokers' list
Hun Sen
Hun Sen: Top puffer among international leaders
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has been named the biggest smoker among world leaders.

The United Nations has appealed to him to quit the habit, and after several failed attempts he said he was ready to try once again.

"I am checking to see whether I can do that or not," he said.

Cambodia has still not signed the UN Framework Convention for Tobacco Control - and the international body believes the prime minister is setting a bad example.

In a national broadcast, Hun Sen spoke about his own efforts - but made no mention of the treaty.

Cambodia has one of the highest rates of smoking in the world, with an estimated 60% of men lighting up.

Cigarettes were included in emergency food rations distributed across the country last year, during a period of famine following crop failure.

Hun Sen said that he had tried several times to spurn tobacco - first after appeals from his wife, and then from his daughter.

After two lapses, he made a new pledge when a granddaughter was born.

But it was all to no avail.

"I promised my daughter on her wedding day that I, her father, will stop smoking when she gave birth, and now my granddaughter is three years, five months and three days old," he said.

It remains to be seen whether it will be fourth time lucky for Hun Sen.

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