Obama has kicked smoking habit, first lady says
WASHINGTON (AP) -- 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, and repeated attempts often are required to quit long term, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
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," Mrs. 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.
At the time, Gibbs stopped short of asserting that Obama had quit completely.
The White House offered no details Tuesday, in keeping with its practice of trying to keep Obama's habit out of the spotlight.
Obama last addressed the question in June 2009.
Before signing a tough anti-smoking law designed to keep millions of teens from getting hooked, Obama ruefully admitted that he had spent his adult life trying to give up cigarettes.