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Obama Quit Smoking, First Lady Says

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First Lady Michelle Obama says that her husband, President Barack Obama, has quit smoking, the Associated Press reported Feb. 8.

“It’s been almost a year,” she said. She gave no details on how or when he quit. He had promised her that he would quit smoking if he ran for president, and he told reporters in 2007 that he was using Nicorette nicotine gum to help himself stop. Last year, the White House physician said he should continue his “smoking cessation efforts.”

Obama also said he was quitting in February 2008. In June 2009, he said he was “95 percent cured,” but that he still smoked occasionally. 

“I constantly struggle with it,” he said. “Have I fallen off the wagon sometimes? Yes. Am I a daily smoker, a constant smoker? No.”

“Once you’ve gone down this path, then it’s something you continually struggle with,” he said.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) says that about 75 percent of smokers who try to quit relapse in the first six months, and they usually have to try more than once before they can stop for good. 

“He’s always wanted to stop,” his wife said Tuesday. She said he wanted to be able to tell his daughters, aged 12 and 9, that he was a non-smoker. 

Robert Gibbs, White House press secretary, said that the fact that several White House aides had quit smoking might have helped Obama quit as well. 

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

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