WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama has finally done what millions of fellow Americans are still struggling to achieve – he’s given up smoking.
“Yes, he has,” his wife, Michelle, said Tuesday at the White House when asked whether he had conquered a nicotine habit that began as a teenager.
“It’s been almost a year,” she said, offering no details on exactly when or how he quit.
But is the breakup with tobacco final?
One in five adults, about 46 million people, still smoke, and brain research shows that nicotine is powerfully addictive. Three out of four smokers who try to kick the habit relapse within six months.
Obama, who has one of the world’s most stressful jobs, has walked this tobacco road before. He announced in February 2008, during his presidential campaign, that he was quitting smoking – again.
“He’s always wanted to stop,” Michelle Obama said Tuesday. She said he wants to be able to look daughters Malia, 12, and Sasha, 9, in the eye and deny that he smokes should they ask.
The issue of Obama’s smoking last surfaced in December, when White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was asked about it and said he had “not seen or witnessed evidence of any smoking in probably nine months.” That timeline would put Obama’s final cigarette puffs in March of last year.