June 23rd, 2009
08:43 PM ET
8 years 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. Janice in Mississippi

    @ 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?"

    I guess the same kind obese people set and recovering alcoholics set.

    June 23, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  2. Yossarian

    Oh wow...Obama struggling with quitting smoking...


    Good for the new law; bad for this quitting smoking non-issue article.

    June 23, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  3. Democrat no more

    My he gets nasty when anyone is criticial or just not blowing rose petals at him.

    Yes Obama, you're wrong, admit it without slamming the person asking the question you obviously didn't like.

    His arrogance is growing.

    June 23, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  4. daunt

    I was a chain smoker for almost thirty years When.I stopped smoking twenty years ago it. was and is the hardest thing that I have ever done. President Obama said it all. DON'T EVER START...
    People who say it's easy to quit have never really been addicted.

    June 23, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  5. kayellee.

    Nobody's perfect and I certainly don't expect the President to be. Props to Obama for taking the iniative to not only quit smoking, but to admit that he still struggles and for signing the tobacco bill into action.

    June 23, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  6. mecrob

    It sets a great example...

    No one is perfect, and we live in a country where we're all free to make our own decisions no matter who we are.

    June 23, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  7. Mike

    amazing you speak critical of Obama on CNN and your comment gets moderated right out.

    June 23, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  8. Oliver

    Plain and simple – kids smoke because they see people they look up to doing it. That is a fact.

    But what should Obama do? Should he lie? The truth is that once you smoke a certain amount, you will always want to smoke in certain situations. You can be smoke free for 5 years, but getting fired, going through a break-up, or enduring any number of similarly stressful situations, will instantly bring your mind back to cigarettes. That is something I was never really told before I started – I thought you can quit and be done with it. Not the case, it stays with you forever.

    I for one would rather have an honest president than a perfect one, but I would also like to make sure that kids know that starting smoking is not a joke, and is not something that you can quit in a few years and move past. I'd like complete honesty from Obama about his experience with tobacco. I think that is more valuable than him being forced to lie about his imperfections.

    I just hope that most kids can have enough sense to see that Obama accomplished what he has in spite of his smoking and drug use as a young man. There are numerous traits about the man to emulate, and we must focus on those while helping kids avoid smoking and drug use.

    June 23, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  9. J

    @not a good example
    How cares about your good example?? If you parent correctly and talk to your children then it doesn't matter if the President smokes. It is not his job to be a good example to your children, it is your job to be a good example to your children.

    June 23, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  10. Looloo

    There's no such thing as 95% cured. If you still smoke... well, you still smoke.

    June 23, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  11. Proud Member..Party of No

    I don't care about Obama's smoking habits. I do care about Obama sitting idly by as a window of opportunity passes him by in Iran. The rookie community organizer is failing on another issue.

    June 23, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  12. Angela in Indiana

    Smoking is a bad habit – Obama is human and has flaws that he is working on. The fact that he admits it, is trying to fix it sets a good example if you ask me.

    June 23, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  13. It can be done in SC

    I wish I could tell President Obama my method of quiting smoking. I was once approximately 2 1/2 pack a day smoker. I quit cold turkey and have not "fell off the wagoin at all". I used to think there was no way I would ever quit but then one day it happened and I am still smoke free after 36 years. Good luck Obama.

    June 23, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  14. Michele Westminster, CO

    what example does drinking at a bar for hours and then driving home show(many folks do it and just don't get caught).....not very good.....there are many bad things in this world but we can not remove all of them just because. Otherwise, the FREEDOM that stands with USA is no longer!

    Parents are to be the teachers and examples for their own kids....take responsibility for your own...don't expect the world to teach them!!!

    June 23, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  15. Obama the "smoker".......

    is a great role model for children.

    June 23, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  16. Jeff

    The one thing I like about the guy, and he won't even stand up for THAT! Come on, Barack!! Light up! It's your choice as an American. For now...

    We seem ot be on our way to making tobacco ILLEGAL, and pot LEGAL!

    Hey, Obama. If it's about future kids, does that include the unborn?

    June 23, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  17. marcus Tate

    I wish the media and the religious right, or whoever is behind it, would just leave smokers alone. People have smoked for centuries. All of a sudden, we have laws, it's a crime, and tobacco companies have no rights. I worry about the precedents set by this, and what might happen to what other industries next. Its not that big a deal. Just stop it, OK? Let people smoke if they want to!

    June 23, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  18. Thomas

    Wish him the best of luck in quitting the habit.

    June 23, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  19. Out in Idaho

    OMG... he is human after all... Can we get off the deity kick now?

    June 23, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  20. Cynthia

    Come on, do you think that most kids in American is going to start smoking just because they see the President doing it? If kids want to smoke they will try it because they want to.

    June 23, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  21. DRivera

    Nobody's perfect. Especially when it comes to quitting cigarettes. The ONLY way to quit smoking is just to plain STOP. Dont buy, don't bum smokes, and stay away from Adult beverages for awhile, which entices one to smoke. At least our president is making an effort to quit. Which is the next best thing to kicking the habit totally. Good Luck!

    June 23, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  22. JSRagman

    I would bet that over the years, other Presidents smoked and the public didn't know it.

    June 23, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  23. J Wills

    Out of all the things covered at that presser – this is what a journalist feels is newsworthy.


    June 23, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  24. tee

    His Business!!!!!!!!!!

    June 23, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  25. sensible Cape Coral Fl

    WOW! We have a President that admits he makes mistakes. Will wonders ever cease?

    June 23, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
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