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Germany's No 1. smoker goes cold turkey at 96

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Germany's No 1. smoker goes cold turkey at 96
Photo: DPA.
08:47 CEST+02:00
Ex-Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, 96, has given up his legendary habit of smoking, after an operation for what is popularly known as "smoker's leg" left him in intensive care.

When Germans think of their beloved ex-Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, they think of him with a cigarette in his hand.

He smoked on TV. He smoked in the theatre - he even smoked in hospital.

Legend has it that he has 200 cartons of menthol cigarettes stored up at home in case the government makes them illegal.

But now, after almost 80 years puffing on tobacco, the 96-year-old ex-leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) appears to have kicked the habit.

His doctor at the Asklepios Clinic in Hamburg, where Schmidt recently underwent an operation on a blocked artery in his leg, confirmed to the Süddeutsche Zeitung that Schmidt hadn't had a smoke in ten days.

But Schmidt is still getting his nicotine hit in one form.

"He is on nicotine patches," the doctor confirmed.

Whether the love affair between Schmidt and his favoured menthol cigarettes is over for good though remains to be seen.

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