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September 14, 2010 - House Minority Leader John Boehner has two ties to the tobacco industry. He gets a lot of political support and money from it, and he smokes a lot of cigarettes. But putting the political aspect aside, Boehner made one thing clear Sunday: He's not ready to give up the habit.
In an unusual twist for one of the Sunday newsmaker shows, politics did in fact take a back seat to the personal, when Bob Schieffer, host of CBS' "Face the Nation," asked Boehner about his smoking and whether he, as a national leader, would give it up "set a good example for the country." Boehner said it's a "bad habit" but he's not ready to give it up.
Mr. Schieffer also smoked lots of cigarettes that resulted in a bout of bladder cancer that he may have survived. (VIDEO - Bob Schieffer's Battle Against Bladder Cancer Caused by Tobacco..)
People affiliated with tobacco companies have contributed at least $340,000 to Mr. Boehner’s political campaigns. Mr. Boehner won some of his first national headlines in 1996 after he was caught handing out checks from tobacco lobbyists to fellow Republicans on the House floor as House members were weighing how to vote on tobacco subsidies.
Schieffer asked how Boehner squared taking money from the tobacco lobby given the widely acknowledged health hazards posed by cigarettes and the 435,000 deaths a year attributed to it.
"Tobacco is a legal product in America," Boehner said. "The American people have a right to decide for themselves whether they want to partake or not. There are lots of things that we deal with and come in contact with every day, from alcohol to food to cigarettes, a lot of the things that aren't good for our health. But the American people ought to have the right to make those decisions on their own."
For more on the G.O.P. leader John Boehner" A G.O.P. Leader Tightly Bound to Lobbyists by ERIC LIPTON, The New York Times, 9/11/2010.
John's perpetual tan - cigarette smoking can produce pale or yellowish skin in places.
Reference: John Boehner and Tobacco: He's Not Ready to Give Up Smoking, Bruce Drake Contributing Editor, PoliticsDaily.com, 9/12/2010.