Camel smoker John Boehner joins Reynolds American's board

September 15, 2016 2:02 PM EDT

Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) addresses his colleagues prior to the election for the new Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives on Capitol Hill in Washington October 29, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

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(Reuters) - Tobacco giant Reynolds American Inc (NYSE: RAI) said it appointed John Boehner, a former House Speaker and a known smoker of the company's Camel cigarettes, to its board.

Boehner retired from Congress last year after serving for four years as speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. He was known to be a heavy smoker during his time on Capitol Hill.

When Boehner left last year, incoming speaker Paul Ryan said he had to "detoxify the environment" in his predecessor's old office. Ryan famously quipped that the office smelled like a hotel room or rental car that had been smoked in. (

Boehner's appointment comes at a time when the tobacco industry is fighting a growing tide of regulation and taxes over its products, including those seen less harmful such as e-cigarettes.

Earlier this year, the U.S. government took wide-ranging steps to crack down on e-cigarettes and cigars, which are growing in popularity among teens, and banned sales to anyone under age 18.

Reynolds American, which also makes Newport menthol cigarettes, said Boehner will join the board as a Class 2 director, and serve on the board's corporate governance, nominating and sustainability committee, effective immediately.

(Reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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