White House press secretary Robert Gibbs went on CNN Sunday, and once again the subject of President Obama’s smoking habit came up.
“I can report that it’s been probably about nine months since he last smoked a cigarette,” Gibbs said on Candy Crowley’s “State of the Union” show. “He has done enormously well in quitting. It was a commitment that I think he made to himself at the end of (the) health care (debate) and with his two daughters in mind.”
Interesting that Gibbs said the same thing at a news conference back on Dec. 9 — “I’ve not seen or witnessed evidence of any smoking in probably nine months.” If you’re Obama, aren’t you telling your spokesman before he heads to CNN, “Hey, tell them it’s been nine and a HALF months since my last smoke.” And how does Gibbs know? If you were still lighting up, wouldn’t you find a quiet spot in the White House, or wait ’til Gibbs went home? But whatever.
The point is, Obama, in the mother of all stressful jobs, quit smoking. Good for him. But how did he do it? By forming a bipartisan commission to study the issue? Nope. Apparently he went cold turkey, the toughest method of all.
During that Dec. 9 news conference, Gibbs mentioned that Obama had been chewing nicotine gum. But mostly, Gibbs said, it was pure willpower. “He’s stubborn.”
So do you believe the president? And if you’re a smoker, is cold turkey the only way that works?
The good news is, there are fewer of you smokers out there — in California, at least. As my colleague Courtney Perkes reported last week, only 13.1 percent of us smoked regularly in 2009, the lowest proportion on record and down from 22.7 percent in 1988. We’ll see whether the take-no-prisoners warning labels being considered by the FDA will reduce rates further.
The U.K. is taking a unique approach to bringing down rates: It’s giving away a million anti-smoking “kits” that include nicotine patches.
Need more evidence that quitting smoking is good for you? A new study shows that quitting can raise levels of HDL, or “healthy” cholesterol, even among those who put on extra pound after cessation.