Thu, Feb 10, 2011 - Page 7 News List

Obama finally gives up smoking, first lady ‘proud’

AFP, WASHINGTON

US President Barack Obama has finally kicked his craving for the odd cigarette — and his wife, first lady Michelle Obama, is “very proud” the former puffer-in-chief can look his kids in the eye and say he doesn’t smoke.

Barack Obama’s struggle to beat his addiction has been a subject of inordinate fascination for the US press, throughout his barnstorming 2008 campaign and in the first two years of his presidency.

However, Michelle Obama told reporters on Tuesday that the president had not had a drag for about a year and said she was “very proud” he had succeeded in what had been a “personal challenge for him,” USA Today reported.

Michelle Obama said she had not repeatedly bugged Barack about quitting — all while doing one of the world’s most stressful jobs.

“When somebody’s doing the right thing, you don’t mess with them,” she said according to USA Today, adding that Barack Obama had finally stopped lighting up because he wanted to tell his daughters Malia and Sasha he did not smoke.

The first lady was talking to reporters to mark the anniversary of her “Let’s Move” campaign to end childhood obesity.

Barack Obama had been urged by his doctor in February last year to stop smoking for good after his first health check-up as president, when he was otherwise found to be in “excellent health” and “fit for duty.”

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that several of Barack Obama’s closest aides had joined the president in his effort to wean himself off tobacco and added he was sure the first lady’s influence had helped.

“I think that when somebody decides to quit smoking ... they do it not just because they want to, but because others want them to,” Gibbs said.

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