In 1985, Calment moved into a nursing home, having lived on her own until age 110. 2 Her international fame escalated in 1988, when the centenary of Vincent van Gogh’s visit to Arles provided an occasion to meet reporters. She said at the time that she had met Van Gogh 100 years before, in 1888, as a thirteen year old girl in her father’s fabric shop, where he wanted to buy some canvas, later describing him as “dirty, badly dressed and disagreeable”, and “very ugly, ungracious, impolite, sick”. 2 7 Calment recalled selling coloured pencils to Van Gogh, and seeing the Eiffel Tower being built. 9 At the age of 114, she appeared briefly in the 1990 film Vincent and Me as herself, becoming the oldest actress ever to appear in a motion picture. 10

A documentary film about her life, entitled Beyond 120 Years with Jeanne Calment, was released in 1995. 11 In 1996, Time’s Mistress, a four track CD of Calment speaking over a background of rap, was released. 12 On her 122nd birthday on 21 February 1997, it was announced that she would make no more public appearances, as her health had seriously deteriorated. Jean Marie Robine, the French demographer and gerontologist, said that this allowed her to die, as the attention had kept her alive.” 13 She died on 4 August of that same year. 11

Both before and after Calment’s death, there have been several claims to have surpassed her age, but none of them have been proven, and Calment therefore continues to hold the record for the oldest verified person ever.

Record breaking edit

After her 1988 interview, at age 113, Calment was given the Guinness title “world’s oldest living person”. However, in 1989, the title was withdrawn and given to Carrie C. White of Florida, who was claimed to have been born in 1874, although this has been discounted by subsequent census research. 14 On White’s death on 14 February 1991, Calment, then a week shy of 116, became the oldest recognized living person. 15

On 17 October 1995, Calment reached 120 years and 238 days to become the “oldest person ever” according to Guinness, surpassing Shigechiyo Izumi of Japan, whose claim (120 years 237 days old at the time of his death on 21 February 1986, Calment’s 111th birthday) has since been discounted. 11 Calment was believed to have been the first person verified to have reached 115 years of age, although Augusta Holtz has since been verified to have reached this age before her.

She is also the only person verified to have lived for 120 or more years. The person who came closest to this age was Sarah Knauss of the United States, reaching 119 years, 97 days on her death on 30 December 1999.

Calment also holds the record for being the oldest living person for the longest period of time, by far with nearly nine years and seven months, counting from the death of Florence Knapp on 11 January 1988, to her own death on 4 August 1997.

Calment broke the record for longest confirmed lifespan (previously thought to have been held by Anna Eliza Williams, who died in 1987 at age 114 years, 208 days, subsequent research has proved that Augusta Holtz was the oldest ever person at this time, she died in 1985 at the age of 115 years, 79 days) by over seven years. Breaking a previous record for age by that amount was, in itself, a record. Before Calment, the only person who had surpassed a former longest confirmed lifespan by more than one year, was Delina Filkins who became the first 113 year old in 1928. Filkins surpassed the by then longest confirmed lifespan by just over two years.

Health and lifestyle edit

Calment’s remarkable health presaged her later record. At age 85 (1960), she took up fencing, and continued to ride her bicycle up until her 100th birthday. She was reportedly neither athletic nor fanatical about her health. 9 Calment lived on her own until shortly before her 110th birthday, when it was decided that she needed to be moved to a nursing home after a cooking accident (due to complications with sight) started a small fire in her house. However, Calment was still in good shape, and continued to walk until she fractured her femur during a fall at age 114 years 11 months (January 1990), which required surgery. 5 14

Calment smoked from the age of 21 (1896) to 117 (1992), 2 16 though according to an unspecified source, she smoked no more than two cigarettes per day towards the end of her life. 17 After her operation, Calment needed to use a wheelchair. In 1994, age 119, she weighed 45 kilograms (99 lb).

Calment ascribed her longevity and relatively youthful appearance for her age to a diet rich in olive oil, 4 and rubbed onto her skin, as well as a diet of port wine, and ate nearly one kilogram (2.2 lb) of chocolate every week. Calment reportedly remained mentally intact until her very end. 4

On 4 August 1997, at 22 45 Central European Time, Calment died, aged 122. After her death, 116 year old Marie Louise Meilleur became the oldest recognized living person.

Verification edit

Exceeding any other longevity case reported, Calment establishes the record as the most verifiable supercentenarian ever recorded. Beginning with the 1876 census (Calment is listed as a one year old), she was indexed within fourteen census documents until 1975 (conducted sometime after she celebrated her 100th birthday). She was still managing independently at the time.

See also edit

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American brands Marlboro, Salem, and Parliament are the most commonly available western cigarettes in China. They are sold at hyper markets (Tesco, Carrefour), supermarkets (Dia, Hua Lian), and convenience stores (Family Mart, All Days). Their retail price is around 15 yuan (US$2.30) per pack. Western brands have a relatively small share of the Chinese cigarette market.

A wider variety of western brands are available at duty free shops at China’s international airports. The British brands 555 and Dunhill are the probably the biggest sellers at China’s airports.

Double Happiness is the best selling cigarette brand in China. Double Happiness is a domestic Chinese brand.