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First Lady Says President Obama Has Quit Smoking
Date:2/9/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- President Barack Obama has kicked the smoking habit for almost one full year, First Lady Michelle Obama told the press on Tuesday.

As the old saying goes, "Giving up smoking is easy. I've done it hundreds of times." In fact, by Obama's own admission, this is not the first time he has tried to quit, and one expert noted that staying smoke-free can be the toughest part.

"There is no doubt that people [often] do go back to smoking," said Dr. Jonathan Whiteson, medical director of the Cardiac and Pulmonary Wellness and Rehabilitation Program at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.

"On average, it takes probably seven times for people to quit successfully," he said. "There are, no doubt, some people who quit cold turkey the first time and never go back to it, there are some people 10, 12, 14 times they are still trying."

However, Obama seems to have been off cigarettes for a while. According to the Associated Press, during a Tuesday news conference the First Lady said that, "Yes, he has [quit]. It's been almost a year." She added that, "He's always wanted to stop."

According to the news agency, Michelle Obama said quitting has been a "personal challenge" for the president. She did not elaborate on how he quit, and while she said she was proud of her husband, she hasn't asked him for details. "I haven't really poked and prodded him on this," she said. "When somebody's doing the right thing, you don't mess with them."

But quitting is almost never easy, Whiteson said. "It takes a lot of mental energy and a lot of support from people around you -- your friends and your loved ones."

"Obama is like most people," he added. "I think what is so great about him is he deals with it out in the open. It's not taboo. It's not a secret. That's important, because if we brush this under the carpet, if we hide it or hide a
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