In a hastily added event at the White House Friday, President Obama turned his attention to an old habit of his own. Cigarette smoking.
The Kids Tobacco Legislation, had just passed in the House, it passed in the Senate Thursday, and will be making it's way to the president's desk for signing soon. Mr. Obama, obviously please with the bill's success was quick to comment.
"This bill has obviously been a long time coming," Obama said. And while he did not refer to his own personal experience with tobacco, the President wasn't shy in listing the product's vices. "We've known for years, even decades, about the harmful, addictive, and often deadly effects of tobacco products. Each year Americans pay nearly $100 billion in added health care costs due to smoking. Each day about a thousand young people under the age of 18 become regular smokers."
The president has struggled with quitting smoking for sometime. He was known to chew Nicorette gum on the campaign trail in an attempt to break the habit, but Obama has admitted to having slipped.
When asked about why the president didn't mention his own tobacco use in his remarks, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that if the president were to comment, "the President would likely tell you as I think anybody would who has smoked or been addicted to smoking that it is a life long struggle."
The press secretary was peppered with questions about the president's smoking throughout Friday's briefing, and while Gibbs wouldn't answer specifically as to whether or not Mr. Obama is still smoking, "I would simply tell you...struggling with nicotine addition is something that happens every day."
The tobacco legislation that passed Capitol Hill, and fueled the smoking questions at the White House today, was heralded by President Obama as a bi-partisan victory, years in the making.
"For over a decade, leaders of both parties have fought to prevent tobacco companies from marketing their products to children, and provide the public with the information they need to understand what a dangerous habit this is," the president said. "And after a decade of opposition, all of us are finally about to achieve the victory with this bill, a bill that truly defines change in Washington."
The bill has not yet arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania for the president so sign into law.