They say: Once a smoker, always a smoker. And this may certainly be the case for President Barack Obama, who took up smoking cigarettes as a teenager and has exhibited a cyclical pattern of quitting and starting up again.
“I was never really a heavy smoker,” said a then-presidential hopeful Obama to Men’s Health in August of 2008. “Probably at my peak I was smoking seven or eight a day. More typical was three…There have been a couple of times during the campaign when I fell off the wagon and bummed one, and I had to kick it again.”
After the election, in 2009, the President admitted at a press conference that the quitting was still a work in progress. He said “there are times I mess up. … I constantly struggle with it. … Have I fallen off the wagon? Yes.”
Enter the wife. “I’ve never been a smoker so I can’t relate,” said first lady Michelle Obama in an interview with Politico.
If you’re like me, an ex-smoker (who sneaks one or two cigs every once in awhile) married to a never-smoker, then after reading that quote, you have a better understanding of the President’s domestic predicament. But the pressure at home must have worked because when the subject of his smoking came up at a December 10 White House press conference with press secretary Robert Gibbs, he said “I’ve not seen or witnessed evidence of any smoking in probably nine months.”
In September 2013, the President, apparently still on the wagon, was caught on an open mic at the U.N. telling an attendee that he quit “because I’m scared of my wife.” Watch the video of the exchange here:
But then in June of 2015, a spokesman for the Italian prime minister threw the President under the bus by posting a picture on his Instagram account that appears to show Obama holding a pack of cigarettes.
So there you have it. Once a smoker, always a smoker.
No official word from the White House on the current status of the President’s smoking habit. But, if not while in office, we do hope he can finally kick the habit when the whole weight of the free world isn’t on the poor guy’s shoulders! C’mon, Mrs. Obama, cut the man some slack!