Germany’s most well-known heavy smoker, former Chancellor (1974-1982) Helmut Schmidt recently announced that he’s been a cigarette smoker for 70 years now. His equally chain-smoking wife took up the habit even longer ago. In TV interviews, the 88-year-old Schmidt is never seen without his menthol ciggies. "I smoke everywhere, except in a church", especially in the presence of American TV journalists. The inventor of the G8 summits also claims to have special permission by the fire department to light up in non-smoking areas of the Hamburg Thalia Theatre.

When launching its new interview series with him ("A Cigarette with Helmut Schmidt"), German leading weekly newspaper "Die Zeit" Editor-in-Chief Giovanni Di Lorenzo complained about a small number of militants writing protest letters against Schmidt and his smoking lifestyle. Di Lorenzo defended Schmidt as a "concentrate of virtues". Schmidt: "The anti-smoking campaign will end up exactly as the prohibition in the USA 80 years ago."

By the way, Helmut Schmidt is the only person still alive after whom a university in Germany is named. Talk about role models for young people: would you rather be a smoker like him or a non smoker like Adolph?

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