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Will Wesson quit smoking if he becomes L.A. Council president?

November 18, 2011 |  2:36 pm

Wesson poseLos Angeles City Councilman Herb Wesson reached a major milestone Friday, with seven of his colleagues signing a measure to make him president of the 15-member body in January. That basically ensures that he will become the first African American president in the council’s 161-year history.

Yet Wesson, 60, may soon have a tougher goal ahead: giving up smoking.

Because cigarette smoking is barred in city buildings, Wesson’s pack-a-day habit has long caused him to step out of council meetings, sometimes multiple times in a single day. But those smoke breaks on the City Hall steps are going to be harder to schedule once he is in the president’s chair. 

On Friday, Wesson, a former speaker of the state Assembly, made a New Year’s resolution to stop in 2012. “I’m going to give it the college try, for health purposes and because I don’t want it to take me away from the council,” he said.

Wesson said his mother, who died in June, advised him years ago to see a hypnotist to kick his cigarette habit. After eight sessions, he gave up coffee, he said.


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-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall

Photo: Los Angeles City Councilman Herb Wesson in City Council chambers in City Hall on Friday. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times