Menu
Home

Politics

Former Smoker Obama Urges Others to Follow Suit During ‘Great American Smokeout’

President Obama is lending a hand in promoting this year's smoking cessation campaign, the ‘Great American Smokeout', on November 17 by releasing a video which offers his cabinet agencies' services to help Americans quit.

His stature as commander in chief might actually take a back seat to his status as a former smoker in influencing people to quit. "The fact is, quitting smoking is hard. Believe me, I know," the president relates in his online message.

The White House is hoping Americans will aim to quit smoking by Thursday or use the day to make a plan to do so. The president is especially concerned about preventing children from smoking.

In the video, he highlights a 2009 bill he backed which calls for new warning labels on cigarettes.

"Today, some big tobacco companies are trying to block these labels because they don't want to be honest about the consequences of using their products," Mr. Obama lamented. "Unfortunately, this isn't surprising."

New, graphic warning labels issued by the FDA will eventually be required on at least 50 percent of the cigarette packs sold in the U.S. and show startling images of cancer and lung disease.

The president began to smoke in his teens, but he quit sometime last year. His doctor says he is now "tobacco free."

Mr. Obama has famously struggled with the vice, admitting he fell off the wagon now and then as president. He has chewed nicotine gum to temper the cravings, but it's unclear if he still chews it.

Beginning Thursday, the Department of Health and Human Services website will provide links to various smoking cessation programs, including text-message counseling and tools to prevent kids from smoking.

Mr. Obama says 46 million Americans still smoke, though the numbers have been declining. He says he wants to make it easier for Americans to have the tools to quit the habit that remains the leading cause of preventable early deaths.