Obama Not Smoking Again: WH Slams G7 ‘Cigarettes’ Photo
Barack Obama is not smoking again, despite the picture that is circulating on the Internet showing him holding something that looks suspiciously like a pack of cigarettes. The White House issued a statement saying that Obama was not smoking as he spoke with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, but would not reveal what he was holding that appeared to be a box of cigarettes.
Barack Obama is not smoking again, according to a brief statement issued by the White House.
Earlier this week, a picture of President Barack Obama hit Instagram where he could be seen standing near a window holding an object that resembled a box of cigarettes as he spoke with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. The photo was taken by Renzi’s spokesperson, Filippo Sensi, as Obama was attending the G7 summit in Schloss Elmau, Germany.
Obama, who has been smoking since he was a teenager, has been trying for numerous years to quit because he is fully aware of the health risks:
Cigarette smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer. Smoking is directly responsible for approximately 90 percent of lung cancer deaths and approximately 80-90 percent of COPD (emphysema and chronic bronchitis) deaths. About 8.6 million people in the U.S. have at least one serious illness caused by smoking. That means that for every person who dies of a smoking-related disease, there are 20 more people who suffer from at least one serious illness associated with smoking.
So, did Obama fail himself and his family by slipping off the wagon? According to White House Press Secretary Joshua Earnest, the answer is a flat no. When April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks asked if Obama had a pack of cigarettes in the photo, Earnest said:
“I don’t know, April, I wasn’t there.”
Ryan pressed on:
“I understand, but I mean, did he tell you what it was?”
Earnest replied by:
“No. You may not be surprised to hear that I did not raise this issue with the president today. I told you it’s not cigarettes. Let’s move on, he does no smoke.”
He was quizzed on what the mysterious object Obama was clinging to, and Earnest said that he could not say. Some said it was a pack of tissue and others claimed that he was holding a pack of cigarettes for the Italian politician.
In the summer of 2009, Obama confessed that it had been very difficult to stop smoking. POTUS revealed to UN special rapporteur Maina Kiai at the UN general assembly:
“I constantly struggle with it.Have I fallen off the wagon sometimes? Yes. Am I a daily smoker, a constant smoker? No.”
‘Once you’ve gone down this path, then it’s something you continually struggle with’.
In February 2011, First Lady Michelle Obama told guests at an event at the White House that it had been “almost a year” since the President last smoked.
Experts say that quitting smoking or any addiction is very difficult and may require several attempts. Lifelong smokers, who stop, often start again because of withdrawal symptoms, which include stress, weight gain, feeling irritable, angry, or anxious difficulty concentrating, and constant craving for tobacco products.
What do you think of the White House’s denial?