Barack Obama became US president on a campaign of “yes, we can” but he has struggled hard for three decades to stop smoking. Now, going by his press secretary’s word, he may have finally kicked the habit.
“I have not seen or witnessed evidence of any smoking in probably nine months,” Robert Gibbs told reporters Thursday.
He did so after the surgeon general issued a report on the health risks of tobacco as part of the administration’s anti-smoking campaign.
“This is not something that he’s proud of. He knows that it’s not good for him. He doesn’t like children to know about it, obviously, including his,” Gibbs said.
“But I think he has worked extremely hard, and I think he would tell you even when in the midst of a tax agreement and a START deal and all the other things that accumulate, even where he might have once found some comfort in that, he’s pushed it away.”
After the president’s annual physical last February, the doctor who conducted the examination said Obama continued to struggle with smoking.
“I’ve said before that as a former smoker I constantly struggle with it,” Obama said last summer after signing anti-tobacco legislation designed to protect kids. “Have I fallen off the wagon sometimes? Yes. Am I a daily smoker, a constant smoker? No.”
“So he understands its dangers and, I think, has done a lot of extraordinary work to wrestle with that habit, as millions of Americans have,” Gibbs said, but stopped short of saying Obama had quit.
Asked how he did it, Gibbs joked, “He’s stubborn.”
More seriously, he said, “This is something that he’s thought about for a while.”