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Gibbs: Obama Struggles 'Every Day' Against Smoking

By Michael A. Fletcher
Does President Obama still smoke?

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs won't say, but he acknowledged today that the president continues to struggle to control the habit.

"I would simply tell you I think struggling with a nicotine addiction is something that happens every day," Gibbs said at today's press briefing.

On the campaign trail, Obama talked about his fight to kick smoking, and he has admitted to sometimes falling off the wagon. As he campaigned for president, he was often spotted chewing Nicorette gum, which helps controls the craving for nicotine.

Still, Obama has promised not to smoke in the White House -- even if it is unclear whether he meant that in the most narrow sense.

The question arose after Obama spoke in the Rose Garden to praise passage of legislation allowing the federal government to more closely regulate tobacco. In his remarks, Obama decried the "harmful, addictive, and often deadly effects of tobacco products."

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 12, 2009; 4:07 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Washington Life  
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My husband quit smoking following quintuple by-pass surgery after more than 30 years of smoking Camels.

I quit by just not buying cigarettes, but it took me a full year to stop altogether as I would bum them off others including my husband. Those Camels will either cure you or kill you.

As for eggy1, his wishing lung cancer on Obama is what I have come to expect from dittohead conservatives and why the party that represents them will never get my vote.

Posted by: mcafla | June 16, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

So what's new? LIKE OBAMA SAYS "DON'T DO WHAT I DO---DO WHAT I SAY". I hope he is not STINKING up the WhiteHouse and turning it into an OBAMA SMOKE HOUSE.
When people smoke no matter how they try to hide it you can tell when a person that smokes come into the room, grocery store and PRESS ROOM.
I feel sorry for his children being exposed to his FILTHY UNHEALTHFUL HABIT.

Posted by: missbaby01hotmailcomIDONOTUNDERSTANDWHATYOUAREASKING | June 15, 2009 11:06 PM | Report abuse

The person who said he should get lung cancer ought to be ashamed of him/herself. What a sick comment!

Posted by: hannfor | June 15, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

I hope he keeps smoking and smoking and smoking and smoking. I guess he has installed an exhaust fan in his bedroom closet by now. I hope he just keeps smoking and smoking and excercising his right to do so. I am so proud of him for having a press secretary to make excuses and I hope he smokes too and keeps on smoking and smirking in the true sense. I hope his whole family exercise their right to smoke and that they tyoo keep smoking and smoking and smoking.

Posted by: commenywontmatteranyway | June 15, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

For the person who wishes President Obama would get lung cancer. Shame on you. You do know you do not have to be a smoker in order to get it don't you? Please be careful what you wish for others it make come back to bite you.

Posted by: 1listener | June 15, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Excuse me but smoking is legal and he is an adult, with all the information he needs to quit if he wants to. I smoked for years until I got the flu seven years ago and couldn't stand the smell so I just never lit up again. I kept a pack in the freezer just in case and threw it away about a year ago. I didn't want to quit and never tried. I figured when it was time I would just do it and I did,so why does anyone have a say in what President Obama does? I don't remember hearing anything about Laura Bush's habit. She could have been a role model for young women and wasn't but then she is a different party and they can do what they want and no one better say anything. Or else. I just got over another flu and I have given up diet coke which in my opinion was a allot worse for me than smoking. When the President decides to quit he will and its his choice not ours. He could be a drunk but isn't.

Posted by: 1listener | June 15, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Been smoking since I was 10. Three packs a day since college except for a couple years in the 60 s. No problem with cold turkey. Smoking is a habit - not an addiction. I still get the urge to bite my finger nails but I have had false teeth for 23 years. Presidents should know this. Stress is dangerous. Smoking is not and it calms the nerves. I hope Obama does not continue to be fooled by Junk Science.

Posted by: samnett | June 15, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Tried cold turkey at least three times. Then, I tried hypnotism. Once. It worked w/o very much effort. Just remembered to snap my rubber band when I felt a craving. After a couple of months....pfffft...nothing. Try it; you'll like it.

Posted by: c1945h | June 14, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

eggy1 wrote: "I would love it if Obama got lung cancer."

Some day, the meaning of either Christianity or Karma will become apparent to you. I hope it is not too late.

Posted by: nodebris | June 14, 2009 2:09 AM | Report abuse

Mr. President those of us who still consider ourselves mortals struggle with something every day. I have seen what nicotene has done to close relatives who try to kick the habit-- kick it for a few months and in a split moment -- go right back.

When the urge comes, which it will, given all that is stacked in your basket under "pending," just think of your beautiful loving wife, Michelle and your wonderful daughters. That could be the antidote.

But realize that from my perspective-- fighting this 'habit" is absolutely not a stain on your character.

Posted by: Victoria5 | June 13, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

I would love it if Obama got lung cancer.

Posted by: eggy1 | June 13, 2009 7:00 AM | Report abuse

There are more harmful hazards in our lives than enjoying an occasional cigarette. If denial of healthcare to smokers becomes the rule, then they'll have to deny those who are obese because they over-eat. How about those who enjoy an occasional alcoholic drink? What will insurance companies do about those who like salty foods, fatty cheeseburgers and fries, consuming too much fat and calories? Will they continue to cover those who enjoy hobbies such as sky-diving, hang-gliding or ride motorcycles? Will they stop coverage for employees who work in high-risk jobs or put their lives in danger to save others? What about those near the end of the lives...will they be denied healthcare because they're old? Punishing smokers is just the beginning.

Posted by: poescrow | June 13, 2009 4:57 AM | Report abuse

I quit 18 years ago, and have had no relapses since then. I arrived at that blissful outcome by tapering over a rather long period of time. The trick, for me, was allowing myself a certain number of cigaretters per day, but unlimited smokes; id est, I might take a puff from a cigarette, put it out, light it an hour later, take another puff, and so on. One cigarette might last me five hours. The harm was no greater than smoking in the normal manner. I guessed, correctly, that a day would come when I would forget to smoke. On that day I would have it licked. And so it came to pass, as it were. I haven't even craved a puff since that day.

I arrived at that approach after many cold-turkey attempts; their successes ranged from 25 days to three years, between the ages of 15 and 55, during which I smoked a total of 37 pack/years. After so many failures, I knew that cold-turkey would not work for me. I knew, too, that I would rather die a premature and horrible death (lung cancer) than live through years of craving a smoke. Tapering worked. For me. I'm not you, or even him. It's worth a try. Take it long and slow.

Posted by: morphex | June 13, 2009 2:42 AM | Report abuse

Mr. President, you can help lead us by quitting smoking....lead the smokers as they attempt to quit, inspired by your example....and lead the fight on cutting down the costs of tobacco-related illnesses.

Posted by: PostToastie | June 13, 2009 2:15 AM | Report abuse

I quit smoking over 16 years ago. Cold turkey. It is hard. I failed MANY times before I finally gave it up for good.

Habits are extremely difficult to break. Our President understands the consequences of smoking. If he thought it was OK, he wouldn't back the legislation going through Congress right now.

Cigarettes are as much of a delivery system for the drug nicotine as a crack pipe is a delivery system for the drug cocaine. People who sell cocaine go to prison. People that sell nicotine should go to prison also. Actually, I have harsher punishments in mind for them, because of my personal struggles with cigarettes, but in a public forum, I'll keep them to myself.

Cigarettes should be illegal. As a ex-nicotine addict, I have the, the duty to say that.

The physiological problems caused by smoking are far too numerous to mention...lung diseases, cardiovascular diseases, digestive diseases (acid reflux due to the weakening of the esophageal sphincter) metabolic disorders, skin diseases, and more.

Why is regulating or even outlawing smoking even a topic of conversation? It's a no brainer.

However, it's a drug. Simple. We, in the US, outlaw drugs. And, we expend an inordinate amount of resources in the legislation and prohibition of drugs. I think we should focus our efforts on other things like our economic and political standing in the world and let those that choose to partake of drugs (including much as I am against it), smoke their friggin brains out. Really. It's a tradeoff.

Perhaps, if insurance companies, medical and otherwise, chose to NOT insure those that smoked, or used drugs that could harm them, etc, more people would quit. When you get the rasping cough from smoking and the doctor "won't see you now", you might decide to quit for a year or two so the insurance company will insure you again. But then, the burden would fall on the government, and ultimately on US in some way. While I DO believe in health care coverage for ALL Americans, I do NOT believe in covering people that refuse to at least TRY to change their unhealthy ways.

I could be wrong on this, and I'm throwing out food for thought. I applaud President Obama for trying to quit. I know it's not easy, as one who went through the quitting process.

Posted by: beenthere18 | June 13, 2009 1:24 AM | Report abuse

Mr. President, as someone who met you in college, let me commend you for taking on the biggest challenges. Quitting tobacco will doubtless be one of the largest in your life. The main thing is not to give up and to remember that falling down on this particular task is not the same as failing to deal with the Somali pirates. There's always next week if you fail this week. Most who succeed have failed multiple times.

Posted by: Martial | June 13, 2009 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Has he put on any weight? If not, he's still smoking.

Let him quit in 8 years when the country is not in the balance.

BTW, putting the FDA in charge of tobacco means nothing to me. They still refuse to acknowledge the benefits of marijuana while allowing both BPA and Aspartame to kill us.

Posted by: ProfessorWrightBSU | June 12, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Who cares? He can afford his habits. The working middle class can not. That is where it will hit the hardest. But he does not care about that.

Posted by: sprayadhesive | June 12, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

I quit almost 4 years ago, and I have had a few each year (after that first year of chewing Nicorette non-stop). The important thing is to quit smoking on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. If someone has a cigarette twice a year, that's not really a health crisis.

After all the good Obama has done in a few short months, we have to spend time on an occasional cigarette?

Posted by: DWinFC | June 12, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

To the jerkwad who said below "He is a weak man. If I could kick the habit cold turkey 28 years ago, anyone with any self discipline can do it."


Posted by: gregp1 | June 12, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Okay....they've taken over our homes, banks, car producers, insurance companies, our guns and our credit cards.

Now they want our smokes.

Next they'll want our booze.

This change thing is a real hoot.

Guess we all need to take up quilting and gardening and forget these nasty sins of the flesh.

Too bad. Nobody's getting out of here alive matter what they don't do.

Posted by: bandcyuk | June 12, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Does Junior still snort?

Posted by: whocares666 | June 12, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm totally with Obama on this one. It's not easy, and I'm sure the stress of being President of the U.S. does not help.

Someone wrote: "If I could kick the habit cold turkey 28 years ago, anyone with any self discipline can do it."

What -- are you so weak that everyone else should have at least your will power?

Posted by: nodebris | June 12, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

The FDA can not adequately inspect the food we eat. Last year they failed to inspect the peanut butter company and people died. Peanut Corp. of America is under criminal investigation for allegedly shipping peanut butter and another ingredient used in thousands of other products that it knew to be tainted. The FDA should also face criminal charges for failure to inspect our food companies. The peanut butter plants were filthy with leaky roofs.

Let the FDA cleanup their own act before giving them new responsibilities.

Posted by: alance | June 12, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

The best testimony to the problem with cigarettes is best shown by the reality of a smoking or former smoking President to sign the tobacco legislation that Congress is now passing.

While I applaud the effort to have the FDA regulate tobacco and I am an ardent non-smoker. I think there is an inherent problem. Once the FDA gets involved in cigarettes, some cigarette under some conditions will be allowed to be sold by the FDA. Suddenly the FDA is somewhat "endorsing" some cigarettes and I do not think that is where the FDA wants to be.

Posted by: cyberfool | June 12, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans would bash him if he quits ["He's not in touch with the real smoking America"] and they'll bash him if he continues [see stupid Curmudgeon comment above].

Posted by: dre7861 | June 12, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

He is a weak man. If I could kick the habit cold turkey 28 years ago, anyone with any self discipline can do it.

But then I balance my checkbook, don't spend money I don't have, and am not running printing presses in the basement turning out benjamins when I need them.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | June 12, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Who cares? Just another chance for the anti-Obama press to take shots at our president...

Posted by: parkerfl1 | June 12, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

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