The more open people are, the more people around them will reach out and offer them encouragement and support, he said.
In 2009, Obama admitted he smoked and said that, "I constantly struggle with it. Have I fallen off the wagon sometimes? Yes. Am I a daily smoker, a constant smoker? No," the AP noted.
Obama added that he didn't smoke in front of his kids or his family, and had declared himself "95 percent cured." But, there are still times "where I mess up."
"Once you've gone down this path, then it's something you continually struggle with," Obama said.
According to Whiteson, smokers greatly up their odds of quitting over the long term when they get involved in a comprehensive smoking program. These programs combine breaking the nicotine addiction plus behavioral modification.
To break the addiction to nicotine, one can try nicotine replacement with gum or patches, Whiteson said. However, one should be gradually weened off these replacements, he said.
"There are also medications we can give that reduce the craving for nicotine, such as Chantix and Wellbutrin," he said.
However, behavior modification through counseling is also an important part of the program to stop smoking, he said.
"Smoking is a behavior and if we can't change the habit, then even if we get people over the nicotine addiction if they go back to the behavior they will start smoking again," Whiteson said. "It only takes one hit of one cigarette to become addicted to the nicotine again."
The programs that work best still only have about a 40 percent quit rate, Whiteson said. So even with the best help, some people are going to have to go through it a couple of times before they quit successfully, he noted.
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