President Obama has long been a known smoker, but it seems the POTUS managed to quit for good several years ago, thanks mostly to the First Lady.
“I haven’t had a cigarette in 6 years…that’s because I’m scared of my wife,” President Obama joked to UN Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai in a candid open mic moment.
Obama greeted Kiai following a Civil Society Roundtable at the opening day of the United Nations General Assembly meeting, noting that he hoped the UN official had managed to quit smoking.
Kiai said that he still smoked from time to time, and asked Obama if he had finally been able to quit for good.
The president has gotten plenty of attention over the years for his bad habit, particularly during 2009 when he was pushing for the passage of the Affordable Care Act, a healthcare overhaul popularly dubbed “Obamacare.”
He confessed at the time that he still gave in to the occasional nicotine fit.
“I’ve said before that as a former smoker I constantly struggle with it. Have I fallen off the wagon sometimes? Yes. Am I a daily smoker, a constant smoker? No,” he said during a 2009 press conference.
“I don’t do it in front of my kids. I don’t do it in front of my family. And, you know, I would say that I am 95 percent cured. But there are times where…There are times where I mess up.”
But has President Obama really gone six years without smoking? Michelle said in 2011 that her husband had finally kicked the habit because of the age of the couple’s kids, but didn’t specify when.
In January, after Obama’s second inauguration, House Speaker John Boehner was caught on camera asking the president if he’d managed to sneak away from the ceremony for a smoke. He then tapped Michelle’s shoulder and said “somebody won’t let you do it,” to which the First Lady responded with an epic eye roll heard the world-round.
At the time, reports held that President Obama had given up smoking only three years ago. So is the president exaggerating a little? Oh, probably. But as a former smoker myself I can sympathize with a bit of truth-stretching here. Feels good!