June 23rd, 2009
08:43 PM ET
7 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. Rudy

    If you're having an occasional cigarrette, you are NOT a "former" smoker, Mr President... you are still a smoker.

    June 23, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  2. sarah

    What does this matter. He is human with vices like all of the rest of us. I'm more concerned with can he get the job done in the next four years than whether or not he sneaks a cigarette. It is not his job to set a good example for our children. It is our job to do that.

    June 23, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  3. Randolph Carter

    Spark it up, Sparky!!! Have a nice day!

    June 23, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  4. Only Human

    I think it sets a great example. Presidents are only human and I think it is much better when they show that they struggle with the same problems we all deal with. Some presidents have done much worse and would never publicly own up to it. I have never smoked a cigarette in my life, but I can empathize with a man who has an addiction that he is trying to kick, but admits it is a struggle.

    June 23, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  5. Megan

    Smoking is legal, that is the bottom line. He IS human, and smoking is a hard addiction to overcome.

    June 23, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  6. Marty

    Mr. President, I truly appreciate your honesty. You should completely quit though.
    You have my vote in 2012

    June 23, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  7. Scott

    Not news.

    Wow...he even said at the opening of the answer to this question that he frankly doesn't believe his personal habits reflect why he thinks this bill is important. Coming off smoking is hard and let him have his peace of mind in his decision to stop. I seriously cannot believe this made the ticker when he made so many great points in the press conference.

    Ever met a smoker that said I'm quitting tomorrow and it takes them 10 years instead? Oh wait, that's just about every smoker. Now ask that same smoker to quit AND be President. I wont be surprised if he can't quit until after he serves his last term.

    How about a ticker about how Obama calls out reporters for repeat questions when their colleagues didn't get the "ticker-esq" response they were looking for? That was hilarious.

    June 23, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  8. Dan W

    I don't like the example he sets that a smoker can chastise those who have unhealthy habits while trying to overhaul health care. Smoking creates huge costs to the health care system.

    June 23, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  9. Deal with it

    Smoking a serious concern in our society and Obama like many others started around his mid to late teens. Everyone knows that cigarettes are harmful but this has been the first president in a long time to stand up to the large tobacco companies and tell them they can't market to young children. The tobacco companies for the last fifty years have known they have a deadly product yet they still market it to our children,

    While it might not be the nicest habit to have with a president, atleast he acknowledges his short comings and is working his hardest to limit the damage the tobacco monopolies inflict on future generations

    June 23, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  10. Chris

    Nobody's perfect....

    June 23, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  11. Angie in PA

    Well didnt Bush fall off the Wagon a few times with his alcohol and drug problem?

    June 23, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  12. Trade Freedom for Security, Lose Both

    No Government funded health care for smokers!! Does anyone know how much this country spends on the increased health care required by smokers? Smokers, including the President, should pay for that out of their own pockets. Why should the rest of us have to pay to keep you healthy enough just so you can keep on killing yourselves?

    June 23, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  13. Realistic2

    @not a good example: Cigar with Clinton..I rather have that than the Contra thing the republicans pulled in the 1986.*US figures agreed to facilitate the sale of arms to Iran the subject of an arms embargo, to secure the release of hostages and to fund Nicaraguan contras. I guess republicans are above the law, even the laws here. I guess republicans have a history of being bad examples,law breakers and above the law. Now we know where Bush learned from.

    June 23, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  14. Aub

    Smoking is not a habit, it's an addiction.
    Unless we stop minimizing smokers and treating them like like pariahs, we will never make positive strides in decreasing the number of those addicited to cigarettes.

    June 23, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  15. Robert

    I don't care if he smokes or not. He's a free man in a free country. I have my poilicy disagreements with him, but I couldn't care less if he smokes or not. It's not his job ot make sure your kids don't smoke.

    June 23, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  16. Vicky-Santa Cruz

    Well he is a imbecile anyway..who cares if he smokes ??

    June 23, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  17. Josh

    @ not a good example

    It's called being human and having a choice. He's an adult, he shouldn't be blasted for a decision that affects only him. He says he won't do it in front of his children, so we should leave it the hell alone.

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

    One cannot be "95 percent cured". You either smoke, or you don't smoke. As a former smoker who quit years ago, I know all too well how difficult the struggle can be. But 95% cured, please, give me a break!

    June 23, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  19. res45

    Mr. President I totally understand about falling off the wagon,sometimes I feel like the wagon ran over me. It's not about how many times we fall off it's that we keep climbing back on.

    June 23, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  20. Disgusted with state-run CNN

    Once again CNN, reporting the most irrelevant, pointless crap to distract people of real problems. Maybe at the next press conference you can find out if Obama washes his hands after he uses the restroom 100% of the time.

    June 23, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  21. G

    It is a tough addiction to break, I feel bad for the President.

    In order to set a good example he really needs to quit. It's interesting that Bush was an alcoholic, Clinton Smoked Marjuana (and cigars), Now Obama smokes cigarettes and apparently experimented with drugs when he was younger. It just goes to show you that these presidents are just human beings like the rest of us.

    June 23, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  22. Rightsaid

    Does it matter? He runs the county about 10 times better than the last guy!

    June 23, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  23. Shari, NY

    I believe his grandmother used to smoke (which is not really an excuse, but being exposed to this made him even more vulnerable). He admitted from ever since that "he has fallen off the wagon" so this is nothing new. Kicking the habit is tough I understand but I also know a few people who succeeded years ago and never looked back. For stress relief he shoud try yoga or go hiking in the Blue Ridge, but not without informing Biden, the missis, and the press before disappearing.

    June 23, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  24. rp

    Give the guy a break, no it is not good, it does not set a good example but, that is his business.

    June 23, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  25. CLIFF

    "Obama fell off the wagon?"
    Well, that explains everything. He landed on his head so now we know what is "wrong" with him.
    AMERICA going down the tubes with Obama....one puff at a time!

    June 23, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
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