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. Sam

    WOW!! Is this the only thing you got out of this?? As a former smoker who tried and failed on several occassions, give the guy a break! If you can not come up with something other than this out of the hour long question and answer session you guys need to look for new work!

    June 23, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. Carl

    I've always said: "It's easy to quit smoking...I've done it several times."

    June 23, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  3. buckwheat

    The whole law about smoking is about one thing. More taxes.Do you ever wonder if the same people who demand a smoke free booth in a restaurant are the same ones who elect to burn their trash out doors or throw their trash out on the road so they won't soil their ride?

    June 23, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  4. TCM

    WHO CARES? I'd rather him be a smoker, if he gave up socialism and had some inkling of how to be a president...

    June 23, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  5. Dawn in Pa

    Anyone who has tried or quit smoking knows how hard it is to quit. There is no rehab for smokers like Alcohol and drugs. I tried many times and I lashed out and was anxious. The hunger for that cigarette after dinner, first thing in the morning. You can fall off the wagon, just like you can fall off the wagon with drugs or alcohol.

    I have to tell you also that most insurance companies will not pay for anything to quit smoking, but it will pay for rehab, go figure.

    June 23, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. Bibek

    I like honesty. Something that was lacking for the last 8 years.

    June 23, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  7. Larry

    Don't worry POTUS, it's totally legal and you are entitled if you so please ! There are worse habbits out there !

    Supporter !

    June 23, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  8. Shane in RI

    It is tough. I recently quit due to all the price increases. (childrens health care is not worth funding with my dime). Goverment priced me out now i deal with the addiction. It's like heroin, I swear!

    June 23, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  9. Tom Kaye

    What a pleasure it is to have a President who admits to being human.

    He admists his mistakes and takes responsibility, even admits to giving into the the powers of nicotine.

    This is something we would never hear from Bush et al who never admitted to any mistakes or being human and caused this country devastating problems that Obama has to fix and will fix them.

    Hail to the Chief!

    June 23, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  10. lawrence Anderson

    This is typical of america. Make a big deal out of no-yhing and leave the back door open.

    June 23, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  11. history repeats

    wait a minute are you telling me the president is a human being? wow

    June 23, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  12. abby

    95% does not a cure make. You’re either a non-smoker or a smoker, even if only occasionally. You can characterize it any way you want. He’s not cured.

    June 23, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  13. K. Owens

    Eureka ... our President is a human being and not proclaiming himself to be perfect. I give him credit for being forthright with the nation and admitting that he is still trying to overcome this.

    June 23, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  14. carly

    What a hypocrit! Everyone knows the health effects of smoking, and yet this man can't discipline himself to quit. He wants the American taxpayer to pony up more dollars to pay for his new healthcare plan, featuring PREVENTION as a way of cutting costs, yet he can't prevent his own health problems by giving up cigarettes. Now when he gets lung cancer, or throat cancer, or heart disease, or a stroke, it is again the American taxpayer who will have to foot the bill for his irresponsible behavior.
    Yes, model our new health plan after Great Britain – there they will not pay for many procedures, such as heart bypasses, if you are a smoker.

    June 23, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  15. Richard

    Hey kids! Can you spell h-y-p-o-c-r-i-s-y? Do as the government says, not as I do.

    June 23, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  16. GI Joe

    When everyone quits smoking, where will the tax base come from? What will they tax then?

    June 23, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. Pat

    Must only smoke when he drinks.

    June 23, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  18. Brian

    Nothing wrong with a smoke now and then..I wonder what brand he likes.

    June 23, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  19. Pat

    So, you make cigarettes only affordable for the super rich like yourself? Makes sense. Well on your way to being a despot. GJ!

    June 23, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  20. jm

    Typical, do as I say, not as I do....

    June 23, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  21. Tyler


    June 23, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  22. jolly john

    Watch the haters....hypocrite !!....hypocrite!!!!....they all cried!!!!!
    It's not easy, but who said it would be!!!
    GO OBAMA !!!!!!!!!!

    June 23, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  23. Marc in Canada

    Time for a reality check people. Time to show some common sense.

    You can no longer afford a Cadillac caliber Healthcare system that only covers 5/6's of your citizens.

    You need a Single Tier Healthcare system that provides equal service/care and rights to all your citizens.

    You need to sacrifice and make concessions. You need to settle for a Chevy caliber Single Tier Healthcare system that covers all American citizens and get rid of the class based multi level tiered system you now have that you can no longer afford and leaves millions without care and coverage.

    You need to study our quality and affordable single tier system that we use in Canada and that we take for granted. We realize it's not perfect but it's pretty close to being perfect. You need to realize our system covers every citizen at minimal cost and for less than 10% of GDP while your system is flawed by class and $$$$'s. 15% of GDP and you leave millions behind. Time for a reality check people. Time for CNN to keep them honest. Time to live within your means

    June 23, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  24. Thin is in?

    Why do we not just make them illegal?

    Why not ban the sweet tasting menthol cigs Barry, don't want to tick off the hood?

    I don't smoke, but this is brutal for this country to let this happen, what will be next, Steak, Donuts, Cookies, Double cheese pizza's?

    You CAN'T legislate ALL stupidity, but once this door is opened, watch for more to come.

    This is socialism, look it up, textbook case of where the "gubment" takes something that is legal, but doesn't like it, so they ban part of it?????

    Ban it all, why SHOULD anyone be allowed to smoke using their rational?

    One and done barry, it will take a decade to clean up your anti-American mess.

    June 23, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
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