WASHINGTON – President Obama has acknowledged enjoying cigarettes at the White House, but he swears that he stopped lighting up there in 2010.
The admission came during a wide-ranging interview with GQ magazine conducted by former ESPN personality and writer Bill Simmons, who asked the president to reveal the number of smokes he’s had at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
“Zero in the last five years,” Obama said.
So why did the leader of the free world decide to kick the habit — at least at the White House?
“I made a promise that once health care passed, I would never have a cigarette again,” Obama said, referring to the Affordable Care Act, the huge health care overhaul he pushed through Congress in early 2010. “And I have not.”
When he took office in January 2009, Obama said that he had mostly quit smoking. But in June, the Internet buzzed after a picture of the president led some to speculate he was holding a pack of cigarettes. (The White House insisted it was not a pack of smokes.)
He has said he is “95 percent cured” of his desire to smoke. From time to time during his presidency, however, there have been reports of Obama talking about smoking or inviting a celebrity or two to join him for a cigarette.
In 2013, Obama was caught on an open microphone at a United Nations event saying that Michelle Obama is another reason he has sworn it off: “I’m scared of my wife.”