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Ochsner CEO Rails Against Smoking

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, April 9, 2012

"I hear people say 'well it's really not a problem anymore is it?' When over one-in-five people smokes and the death tolls and the destruction and the cost is enormous, we have become so accustomed to it that something like one out of five is deemed OK. What is so odd about this is that the poisonous nature of smoking and the addictive nature are so clear, the cost is so high, yet we are relatively indifferent to the magnitude of that threat."

Quinlan suspects that any premature victory celebration in the war on tobacco comes from the generally better educated and wealthier people who don't smoke. "The people I often associate with say there is no smoking," he says.

"None of my friends smoke, but in fact studies clearly show that the poorer you are the more you smoke. The blacker you are the more you smoke. The more mental illness you have the more you really smoke. So it's that invisible underclass that smokes. It is the underclass that has the worse outcomes. That is more than a coincidence. It's cause and effect."

Quinlan says that at some workplaces, the one-in-five people who still smoke should not be surprised if coworkers pressure them to quit or move on. "People won't mind intervening with you and saying 'Hey listen. It's not fair. We are struggling to maintain our benefits and you are literally burning them up. So if you want to do that fine. Just don't work with us anymore please. I don't want to pay your bill,'" he says. 


John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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31 comments on "Ochsner CEO Rails Against Smoking"


wooli (5/23/2012 at 9:20 PM)
"'the poorer...the blacker''how condesending.Ihear the desancendents of the founders at Ochsner think he is a charlentin.

weelo (5/23/2012 at 6:14 PM)
How Condesending.

Poor Mentally Ill smoker (5/22/2012 at 11:01 PM)
Most say that they cant beleive he said this . OH YES HE DID GO THERE. Who is filing the calss action Law suit on behalf of the poor, Black , And mentally ill ,which will be alot of poor black mentally challenged people cause thats going to hurt there pockets more than anything .Him stepping down wasnt from his copmments its been in the works for 18 months come on people do you beleive that horse manure. He thoughtit and said it so that must be his feelings that he says are statistics ,I heard on local tv an news commentator read the study that Quinlan said the information was from and it wasnt said like Quinlan said it !!!!!!!!!.