Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Obama on Smoking: '95 Percent Cured'

Updated, 3:24 p.m.

President Obama revealed today at his nationally televised news conference that he has fallen off the wagon but is "95 percent cured" of his tobacco addiction.

The president was asked about his smoking habit in light of his action on Monday signing into the law the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which brings tobacco products under federal control for the first time.

Obama said that "as a former smoker, I constantly struggle with it.... Have I fallen off the wagon? Yes."

But he said he doesn't exercise his bad habit on a daily basis, nor does he smoke in front of his impressionable young children, Malia and Sasha.

"I would say I am 95 percent cured," the president said, eliciting chuckles from the White House press corps. "But there are times where...There are times where I mess up."

When he was asked by McClatchy Newspapers reporter Margaret Taley how often he smokes and whether he thinks the new law will help him quit, the president appeared put off.

"I think it's fair, Margaret, to just say that you just think it's neat to ask me about my smoking as opposed to it being relevant to my new law," he said, before going on to answer her answer.

The president said the new tobacco regulation law isn't about him. "It's about the next generation of kids coming up." And he acknowledged the power of his addiction, saying, "Like folks who go to A.A., once you've gone down this path, it's something you continually struggle with."


By Mary Ann Akers  |  June 23, 2009; 1:47 PM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Ensign Is Back But Not Exactly In the Saddle
Next: Boehner Drops Big Bucks on Golf

Comments

95% cured.

In other news, Michelle Obama reports that she is "a little bit" pregnant.

Posted by: gilbertbp | June 23, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

There is always hypnosis;

Posted by: edtroyhampton | June 23, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Hey, gilbertpb---Nobody's perfect. How many sarcastic comments did people make when it was discovered that the former President was 95% recovered from drinking?

Posted by: amac3 | June 23, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

::SARCASM TO FOLLOW::

I mean, he could just stop 100%. It's not hard.

::END SARCASM::

Posted by: joshlct | June 23, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

"When he was asked by McClatchy Newspapers reporter Margaret Taley how often he smokes and whether he thinks the new law will help him quit, the president appeared put off.

"I think it's fair, Margaret, to just say that you just think it's neat to ask me about my smoking as opposed to it being relevant to my new law," he said, before going on to answer her answer."

Touchy, touchy, there Mr. Prez. Hey, I understand that quitting smoking is a hard thing, and a personal thing. I would be kind of peeved if people kept poking at me if I were trying and sometimes failing to give up one of my vices. But it is a matter of public interest, whether you like it or not, if you are still smoking, and how often. Having your dirty laundry pile poked at is part of being a public figure, especially POTUS. So go easy on the reporter, I doubt she was asking just to be mean-spirited or snarky with you. Doesn't mean you must answer her question in detail, but don't be b-tchy...

Posted by: jax75420 | June 23, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Of course it's not about him. Neither is the rest of his bloated-ego agenda.

So, "in the United States our basic attitude is, is that we're not going to tell people what to wear."

But we don't mind telling them what they can smoke, whether or not they should have to carry health insurance and that they have to spend a year of their life in public service.

Posted by: nlynnc | June 23, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Pffht. That's like saying I'm 95% cured of alcoholism. Look, I quit last year and I quit--period. Why Obama can't be honest with America (and himself) on this issue is perplexing. Rather than showing weakness, it would show his humanity. By dissembling on such an issue, he betrays weakensss in character. Smoke em' if ya' got em'...

Posted by: sladenyv1 | June 23, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Hang in there President Obama. I smoked for over 23 years and quit 16 years ago. My husband (also a former smoker) often remarked how "easy" it was for me to quit (cold turkey). I told him he was nuts and didn't have a clue how hard it was, especially for the first few months. But once I got past those months, I realized that I was free. I wasn't controlled by some stupid cigarette, and I could go anywhere without having to worry if I'd be able to have that next cig. I found out how food really tastes. I also found out just how bad cigarette smokers, their clothes and old cig butts smell. That alone keeps me away from the habit -- I don't want to smell that bad for anything!

Posted by: TwoEvils | June 23, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

"... nor does he smoke in front of his impressionable young children, Malia and Sasha ..."

He need not worry about that. If they are impressionable chances are good that they have already been successfully indoctrinated to admonish him if he smoked in front of them.

Posted by: johnbowers | June 23, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

We're with you! Si se puede!

Posted by: bs2004 | June 23, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

He is a weak man.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | June 23, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Bristol Palis only 5% pregnant! Film at 11!

Posted by: angelos_peter | June 23, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

He only smokes 18.25 days per year.

Posted by: 12oreo | June 23, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I guess that means he puts out each cigarette after the first 3 puffs.

Posted by: hunter340 | June 23, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Classic "for me, but not for thee" liberalism. This is how tax cheats end up as Democrat treasury secretaries, and how judges who are members of secret, elite, all-female South American clubs get tapped to the Supreme Court for their "diversity". This is why Al Gore ponderously lectures the world about how we all need to stop using hot water and live in tiny cramped apartments, so he can have a gigantic mansion, fleet of SUVs, and enormous strobe lights on his multi-acre lawn. At a surface level, it's brazen hypocrisy, but the rot goes deeper: liberals honestly feel they are better than the rest of us because their "minds are right" -- regardless of how they actually act. Obama thinks smoking is wrong, and therefore he can lecture the rest of us even though HE SMOKES. I've had liberal friends actually lecture me that we shouldn't "torture"/mildly discomfort known terrorists even if it could prevent, say, a nuclear attack on Los Angeles because it's better to sacrifice a million fellow Americans rather than "our principles". Naturally, these friends did not live in LA.

The fastest way to see through liberal BS is to watch what they do, not what they say. Getting lectured about how we should save more -- by a millionaire who spends hundreds of thousands of OUR tax dollars to fly his wife across the country for a date -- gets old pretty darn fast.

Posted by: zippyspeed | June 23, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Will the press ever stop taking it's readers for granted?

Posted by: pluckem9c | June 23, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

OK, so if this quote is accurate, it is quite revealing:

"I think it's fair, Margaret, to just say that you just think it's neat to ask me about my smoking as opposed to it being relevant to my new law,"

First, the Obama health plan speeches have called on everyone to live healthy lifestyles and take personal responsibility (with a line touting their own garden at the White House with fresh veggies). By leaving wiggle room with the 95 percent line, he has given himself an out if he gets busted smoking. If he is going to ask the American people for sacrifice, it is more than fair to ask him what he is sacrificing, no? But President Obama seems to bristle at the very question which goes to the heart of what he has done and is willing to do to quit, a lifestyle choice made by many others.

Second, note the the last three words "my new law." Hmmm -- I thought is was a US law, you know, passed by Congress, etc. But its Obama's law. Good to know.

Posted by: buster2 | June 23, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Big deal, Obama is a Party Smoker: the kind of person who can exercise enough self-restraint to not smoke daily, but who will occasionally pinch a cigarette from a friend once in a blue moon, for kicks. So what?

Posted by: cali_snowboarder | June 23, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

In between fielding questions dealing with the unrest in Iran, the fate of the economy, and the perils of global warming, Obama admitted that he still smokes occasionally, and that it is an ongoing battle. As to the legitimacy of the question, the president brushed it off, saying "I understand... It's an interesting human interest story." He didn't see however, how it was relevant to the new law, but, in order to satisfy the media's quest for instant gratification on the subject, he wasted time talking about his own struggles. "There are times where I mess up...I get this question about once every month or so. And, you know, I don't know what to tell you, other than the fact that, you know, like folks who go to A.A., you know, once you've gone down this path, then it's something you continually struggle with, which is precisely why the legislation we signed was so important. Because what we don't want is kids going down that path in the first place." The President didn't explain where exactly he lights up, but since he doesn't do it in front of his family, and the media hasn't witnessed him smoking, it seems that the question asked of him was unnecessary. The sweeping new legislation passed yesterday giving the FDA authority to regulate tobacco was a major step in protecting children. Obama has said he got hooked on cigarettes as a teenager, and as he signed the bill in the White House Rose Garden yesterday, he said "The decades-long effort to protect our children from the harmful effects of tobacco has emerged victorious." That should be the story, not Obama's own struggle with nicotine. He is, after all, a role model for children. Why complicate the issue?

http://www.paulsolomon.blogspot.com

Posted by: PaulSolomon | June 23, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse


"My" new law?


"I think it's fair, Margaret, to just say that you just think it's neat to ask me about my smoking as opposed to it being relevant to my new law,"

Posted by: DagnyT | June 23, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

I quit years ago and still have a cigarette about once a month. It's something some people can't understand, but for me it's something I enjoy. I don't think it's much of a health risk to smoke one per month.

As for Obama, he's fixing this country and much of the world. If he wants to smoke a cigarette from time to time, he can. Doesn't detract in any way from his desire to see less kids get hooked. In fact, since he knows the best way to avoid smoking is to never start, the new law should be very helpful.

Posted by: DWinFC | June 23, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations to President Obama for having almost kicked his addiction to cigarettes and nicotine. Now if only he could kick his cocaine habit.

Posted by: ashafer_usa | June 23, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

I understand the struggle with addiction.

I was addicted to tax evasion. Fortunately, I quit a few years ago. Now, as a former tax evader, I'm 95% cured, which means I only cheat on my taxes for about one week a year. I'm quite proud of myself.

Posted by: orange2299 | June 23, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse


Forget the story its classic NPR. The reader comments are much more interesting. We can blame the press for Obama's teflon coating, but look at the audience. Slowly the honeymoon with Obama is begining to erode



Posted by: masssgt | June 24, 2009 5:15 AM | Report abuse

I believe anyone who comments on these stupid issues is so self absorbed and ridden with poor self esteem issues that they really should seek some sort of professional counseling. There are actually things going on in this world outside of your petty infantile me me me I I I position defending whining shrill Joe Scarborough it's them not me ranting that it is truly sickening. You are not human beings you are animals!

Posted by: NGrunge | June 24, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse


I believe anyone who comments on these stupid issues is so self absorbed and ridden with poor self esteem issues that they really should seek some sort of professional counseling.

Posted by: NGrunge | June 24, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse
__________________________________

Indeed.

And pity most those who are compelled to comment on others exercising their freedom to comment.

Posted by: DagnyT | June 24, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

There are a few things in life that are "zero-one hundred percent" (like the aforementioned pregnancy) and smoking is another one of those issues. I quit in 1977 after smoking for 21 years and about 3 serious attempts to do so. I was up to about 2 1/2 - packs a day and recognized I was killing myself. Every kid I grew up with in the late 40s and 50s knew the evil of smoking. That's why we called cigarettes "cancer sticks". If THE ONE is as close as he says he is to quitting, all he has to do now is stand up like a man and just quit. I suspect his wife and kids will be thrilled he did.

Posted by: DuffyD | June 24, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Cigarettes.
I smoked for a number of years and then realized that they were not making me feel good anymore, so I somehow was able to quit.
I wanted to quite for a long time.
The addiction is one of the strongest.

Posted by: depaulconsiglio | June 24, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I just could not believe that a “liberal” would actually put in print the process they go through to make everything “gray”. I have been looking for an example that would narrate the process. Below is what a liberal defines as quitting. Now to me, an ex-smoker who smoked for 30 years and never smoked a cigarette I didn’t like, I “QUIT” 15 years ago. Three attempts but I quit. I can sit in a car with a smoker and not want a cigarette. To me that is quitting. But I’m not fixing America and I do feel guilty about that. Now, my wife has been in a nursing home for 2 ½ years following a five year battle with the results of two massive brain hemorrhages. I took care of her 24/7/1825 until I had a heart attack and could no longer take care of her. She was 55 when she had the strokes. I’m doing ok now, she lives in the home and I live in an apartment on SS and my pension. I visit her every other day for dinner. Did I breakdown and smoke? No, because I quit. I’m 67 now.
____________________________________________________________________________________
You never hear the bullet that kills you.
Jimmy7
____________________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________________

I quit years ago and still have a cigarette about once a month. It's something some people can't understand, but for me it's something I enjoy. I don't think it's much of a health risk to smoke one per month. As for Obama, he's fixing this country and much of the world. If he wants to smoke a cigarette from time to time, he can. Doesn't detract in any way from his desire to see fewer kids get hooked. In fact, since he knows the best way to avoid smoking is to never start, the new law should be very helpful.
Posted by: DWinFC | June 23, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Jimmy7 | June 25, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company