Has Obama Quit Smoking?

By Rebecca Kaplan

Has President Obama quit smoking?

First lady Michelle Obama told reporters on Tuesday that her husband has finally done it and hasn't inhaled for a year.

The story was first reported by the Associated Press, and it stirred the White House press corps to ask Robert Gibbs about it at his daily briefing.


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Asked what helped the president kick the habit, Gibbs cited support from the first lady.

 "I think that when somebody decides to quit smoking to try to overcome a physical addiction that they have, they do it not just because they want to but because others want them to," Gibbs said, "and because others around them give them the type of encouragement that they need to break what is a tough habit to break."

Gibbs had given a somewhat equivocal answer in response to a smoking question in early December. At the time, he didn't say definitively that Obama had kicked a habit that he'd had since college. At the time, Gibbs only said that he personally hadn't seen the president smoke in nine months. Today's comments from Michelle Obama and Gibbs are more cut and dry, but given how hard it is to quit tobacco they will likely be asked the question again.

Obama's seeming choice to quit smoking is in contrast to his chief Republican opponent, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, who is also a smoker. "It's a bad habit, but I have it. And it's a legal product. I choose to smoke. Leave me alone," Boehner said in an interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace on January 30.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/02/has-obama-quit-smoking/70950/