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Russian Health Expert Says Obama Needs to Stop Chewing Gum

Russia's former chief sanitary inspector, Gennady Onishchenko, on Monday offered some unsolicited advice to U.S. President Barack Obama: Don't chew gum; eat sunflower seeds.

"It's rude to chew gum. To see any person — let alone the head of a state, who, at any excuse and even without an excuse says he heads the one and only superpower — chewing gum — it's disrespectful to his own nation. It's a sign of very low culture. And if using this for medical purposes, then you can find any kind of therapy that would be more effective and more aesthetic. There is no excuse for chewing gum," Onishchenko was cited as saying by Russkaya Sluzhba Novostei, or the Russian News Agency.

Obama's penchant for chewing gum attracted attention at the G20 summit over the weekend, with many bloggers mocking him for the habit. Obama has been known to chew nicotine gum in a bid to quit smoking.

Onishchenko was relentless in his campaign against any kind of chewing gum, however.

"It's easier to get the patch, which will be absorbed from hidden parts of the body and will remove the symptoms of withdrawal. Let him chew sunflower seeds," Onishchenko was cited as saying.

Onishchenko has gained a reputation for taking a strict stance on many things health-related, having last year denounced fast food and urged against eating it. He was also one of the driving forces behind Russia's recently passed anti-smoking legislation.

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