Home

Obama: No Cigs At White House in 5 Years

Obama says he's kicked cigarettes. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama has acknowledged enjoying cigarettes at the White House, but says he stopped lighting up there in 2010.  

The admission came during a wide-ranging interview with GQ magazine conducted by former ESPN personality and writer Bill Simmons, who asked the president to reveal the number of smokes he’s had at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. “Zero in the last five years,” Obama said.  

So why did the leader of the free world decide to kick the habit — at least at the White House, that is?  

“I made a promise that once health care passed, I would never have a cigarette again,” Obama said, referring to the Affordable Care Act, the massive health care overhaul he pushed through Congress in early 2010. “And I have not.”  

When he took office in January 2009, Obama said he had mostly quit smoking. But in June, the Internet buzzed after a picture of the president led some to speculate he was holding a pack of cigarettes. (The White House said it was not a pack of smokes.)  

He has said he is “95 percent cured” of his desire to smoke. From time to time during his presidency, however, there have been reports of Obama talking about smoking or inviting a celebrity or two to join him for a cigarette.  

In 2013, Obama was caught on an open mic at a UN event saying his wife, Michelle, is another reason he has avoided smoking for years. "That’s because I’m scared of my wife.”  

Related: See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call's new video site. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.