Docs to Obama: Lighten Up on Lighting Up

Obama's first physical as president puts smoking habit front and center

By tamer el-ghobashy
|  Tuesday, Mar 2, 2010  |  Updated 12:09 PM EDT
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Obama the Family Man

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Surprise! President Obama -- who has had a few setbacks this year on the health care reform issue -- seems to be having a health care struggle of his own: he can't kick his addiction to cigarettes.

After his first physical as commander in chief, doctors have recommended that Obama lower his cholesterol, but more importantly, they praised his ongoing efforts to quit smoking. Obama has admitted in the past that he's having trouble leaving the smokes alone for good and White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Monday that his boss isn't proud of it. Should the president be ashamed?

  • Gawker's Foster Kamer doesn't think so. "Obama is not superhuman," he writes. "Bottom line. Obama's probably still smoking. And this is a good thing. After the year he's had, we'd have cause for concern if he wasn't smoking. You know? Smokers know. Let the guy enjoy a nail every once in a while. It's for our own good."
  • Jeff Emanuel at Red State thinks it's an unbecoming example of hypocrisy. "File this news on a president who has signed into law new tobacco taxes ostensibly designed to price smokers out of their habit with other 'do as I say, not as I do' Obama-isms like cranking up the heat in the Oval Office so high that 'you could grow orchids in there' while declaring that Americans’ thermostats must remain below 72° so the rest of the world won’t hate us."
  • Jenice Armstrong of the Philadelphia Daily News adds to the pressure of qutting by making it about us. "What business is it really of ours how he deals with stress, particularly after hours?" she asks, before answering her own question. "Besides the risks to his health, it just looks bad that Obama is a smoker, especially after he has set such a good example by staying physically active. It would be a boon to many Americans if Obama would not only overcome his smoking habit, but also be open with the American people about his experiences."
  • The Christian Science Monitor's Jimmy Orr helpfully suggested the president try to quit by "not inserting a cigarette into your mouth." If that doesn't work, Obama might call Slash of Guns N' Roses fame. "The guitarist -- arguably one of the greatest of all time -- told a reporter last week that he's done with smoking, again," Orr wrote.
  • According to a New York Daily News online poll, 77% of readers think "it sends such a bad message to kids - and adults" that Obama still smokes. A forgiving 16% think that "if you had to deal with Republicans every day, you'd smoke, too."

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