Philippe started smoking when he joined the French Air Services as a paratrooper at the age of eighteen but, as he puts it, he did not enjoy inhaling. Fast-forward about twenty years and Philippe found himself in St Martin in the Caribbean where he set up a gallery and art studio. During this time he started smoking over a pack a day. Three years in, he recognized that his habit was now an addiction and he decided to quit cold turkey. He said “no more” and he took the half-smoked cigarette that was still in his hand and crushed it. An artist first and foremost, he saved this “last butt” and framed it as a work of art.

Around the same time, he was commissioned to design the trophy for the St. Martin Catamaran Regatta. This inspired him to create a line of unique handcrafted jewelry. So, he decided to immortalize his last butt and crafted a sterling silver micro-sculpture in the shape of a crushed cigarette so he would always remember his decision to quit.

When Philippe moved to the US in 1994, he discovered that quitting smoking was one of the main topics in the media that year. He realized that the piece of jewelry he had created for himself could serve the same purpose for many others who, like him, had made the decision to quit. It could be the award one gave oneself or to a loved one to commemorate the act of quitting.
He feels that when you wear this micro-sculpture on a chain around your neck, you can reach for it every time you feel the urge to smoke the same way he did. He found out later that several addiction recovery programs handed out sobriety chips to mark quitting anniversaries and, in a way, his Last Butt serves a similar purpose.
He says, “If you live in New York City and smoke a pack a day, you will spend around $400 each month. The sterling silver micro-sculpture costs less than what you would spend on cigarettes for the same duration and will help harden your resolve to stay quit.

“Barack Obama was a smoker when he was elected President of the United States. When he finally quit smoking while in the White House, I mailed him My Last Butt. This story was picked up by news outlets all over the world.”

He continues, “In the future, I see My Last Butt being the starting point for a local, then national, and finally a global movement to encourage people to quit smoking featuring live events, music (singer/songwriter Stella Crispo has already written an anthem for this movement), public sculptures and art.”

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