June 23rd, 2009
08:43 PM ET
11 months ago

Obama admits to smoking on occasion

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he is "95 percent cured" of his smoking habit, "but there are times I mess up."

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

Obama noted he is not a daily smoker and "doesn't do it in front of" his children.

The president argued that a new law providing for FDA regulation of tobacco "is not about me. It's about the next generation of kids coming up."

The president made his remarks during a news conference at the White House.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. SD

    Who gives a crap if he smokes or not....he is screwing us every way possible let him smoke if it helps him sleep at night....

    June 23, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  2. Foster AZ

    (not a good example) ...so we should have the right to bare arms but not a cigarette? This country is a little too intense; we all need to relax and let others live their lives. If the smoke isn't in my immediate air space, enjoy. Who cares?!

    June 23, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  3. Ray

    If the president has to choose between putting energy into solving our country's problems or quitting smoking – let him smoke!

    June 23, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  4. Donna Pierce

    I do not understand why everyone is so worried if the President smokes a cigarette or, kills a fly, for all that matters, He is human, at least he is not committing adultry in the oval office area. GIVE HIM A BREAK. Last I checked this was a FREE Country. If you had the stress he has and was a previous smoker you would be smoking a pack a day....

    June 23, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  5. POSTMYCOMMENT

    The only example it sets is when people start talking about because as he said he does not smoke in front of his kids/family......... Also I know where he is coming from as i used to smoke daily as well, nonetheless although I was about a pack a week maybe a pack every 2 weeks, but now maybe i will smoke a cig once a month when i am intoxicated and/or heavily stressed. The point of the matter is that he is NOT dependent on cigarettes, he is not thinking about a smoke when he wakes up or when he goes to bed, rather i think he might use it as a pressure release value or sort to say... Now obviously smoking is a bad habit and can lead to many many health issues, but so can over exposure to the ultra-violet light in other words the sun so go figure…. Moderation is the key and plus can we talk about more relevant matters like umm Iran, health care, energy efficiency, or the economy maybe I think all of those issues effect our daily lives more then the amount of 2nd hand smoke our president puts into the atmosphere, and plus I think the amount of good he will and has done over weighs the amount of negative effects of his smoking habit to the general population.

    June 23, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  6. MD

    I quit smoking 4 1/2 years ago. I decided that if I smoke one cigarette then I was smoking. There is no such thing as trying to quit smoking. Either you smoke or you don't there is no in between.

    Very simple.....;-)

    June 23, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  7. CF

    To "not a good example" : Well, what kind of example do the Palins set by promoting abstinence while their teenage daughter parades around pregnant? This is a political party that built itself on demonizing premarital sex and single mothers, but when it happens to one of their own, suddenly their tune changes *for them.*
    At least Obama is setting a good example by trying to quit, by acknowledging that it is a problem that human beings including himself struggle with..... rather than set unrealistic expectations for everyone else but make himself an exception like the Republicans do on many issues.
    As a former smoker myself I say kudos to Obama and thank you.

    June 23, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  8. nota dem

    Just like the Obama leadership, all a smoke screen.

    June 23, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  9. Gina

    Please, there has been far worse over the years commited in the White House other than smoking a few cigarettes.
    The person who referenced Clinton's cigars...............hello, I think there were a few other indiscretions committed by President Clinton that may have topped the cigars.
    Give Pres. Obama a break.................with the stress he is under, I am surprised that cigarettes are all he is smoking!!!

    June 23, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  10. GI Joe

    Smoking is not illegal. It's a personal preference.

    Do you want your personal preferences outlawed? That will be next if you don't allow others their rights.

    June 23, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  11. Dave

    OK, now it's time for all the genius Republican "strategists" to attack Obama as a smoker...yep, Republicans hold the lead in having illicit sexual affairs, lying about them and using their influence to break moral and ethical laws...but let's wait about a half day before they condemn Obama as a moral failure because he smokes...wait for it...it's coming

    June 23, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  12. POSTMYCOMMENT

    wow, will i ever get posted on this site!!!!!!

    June 23, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  13. Curt

    I didn't hire Obama to be a symbol of what my children should be. I hired Obama to lead my country and take care of business in my government. What he does in his off hours are entirely his business.

    Personally I think he sets a great example of human weakness and human integrety with teanacity he still fights and has publically stated it is a difficult battle he contines to fight.

    June 23, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  14. really??

    uhh the cigar thing with Clinton has different meanings.

    It sets an example that he's tried to quit, won't smoke in front of his kids, and is worried about the next generation coming up.

    Anyone out there, with all the facts and data out there, that says "Well Obama smokes, I guess it's ok" deserves what they get from smoking

    June 23, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  15. To not a good example

    @not a good example June 23rd, 2009 1:28 pm ET
    I didn't like the cigar thing with Clinton and do not like the smoking with Obama, what example does that set?
    -----------------------------
    Actually, the tobacco thing with either president does not set a good example, but what Obama is doing is curbing it's use from being used in the future by our children. This president is DOING something about it.
    Then there is Bush, who is probably the worst role model to come from a President in more than a generation. So you can complain about little things cuz they come from Dem's or you can use your common sense and see the changes Obama is making for the better of our country. I'll bet I've convinced you of your foolish folly here?

    June 23, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  16. GI Joe

    I guess some people think a good example would be McCain starting more wars

    June 23, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  17. dan brown

    @NAGE: A good one to millions of smokers if he's able to quit. :)

    June 23, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  18. Bonnie43

    I like his honesty! I don't like cigarette smoking, but I can appreciate his honesty on the issue!

    June 23, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  19. Judy

    What a waste of a question at an otherwise serious press confernence.

    June 23, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  20. yuri

    Hey BHO-

    Set an example and quit smoking today! Do not mess up your approval ratings. Do something exemplary about the economy and external affairs.

    June 23, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  21. Chris

    Not a good one, which is essentially what he said. He struggles with it constantly, doesn't do it in front of his children, and supports regulations on it.

    June 23, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  22. rick james

    who cares. As long as he does not smoke around anyone who does not want to inhale second hand smoke it is not a big deal.

    June 23, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  23. who cares

    Who cares?! I think it shows he is a human being. Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone.

    June 23, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  24. bill

    what a moron !

    June 23, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  25. Joe May

    Please let us know what reporter asked that stupid question of the President. In the light of all that is going on in the world, how could he or she be so shallow? Pathetic!!

    June 23, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
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