December 9th, 2010
04:34 PM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama may be under extreme pressure to get a tax cut deal, START treaty and other key items on his agenda, but according to a top aide, all that heat hasn’t forced the President to smoke.
“I've not seen or witnessed evidence of any smoking in probably nine months,” said White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs.
But he acknowledged that the President continues to “wrestle” with his habit by “chewing gum” and just being “stubborn.” “Even where he might have once found some comfort in that,[smoking] he's pushed it away,” Gibbs said.
While the President may have avoided lighting up in front of his spokesman in months, Gibbs stopped short of saying he’d kicked the habit.
The President has talked publicly about his efforts to quit smoking. “I constantly struggle with it. Have I fallen off the wagon sometimes? Yes,” he told reporters at a press conference in June 2009. He described himself as a “former smoker” who was “95 percent cured.”
This issue is back in the news because the Surgeon General’s latest report shows even “social smoking” can block arteries and trigger a heart attack.
The White House spokesman who rarely dips into his private life to make a point, explained that his own father was a smoker who quit when he was diagnosed with lung cancer.
“He’s still here and hopefully will be for a long time,” Gibbs said. Then pulling back the curtain on his life a bit more , Gibbs talked about his young son Ethan. “If there’s anything in the world that I hope my son never, ever, ever does, is this.” [smoking]
The President has worked to prevent kids from taking up smoking in the first place by warning that “once you've gone down this path, then it's something you continually struggle with.”
He speaks from experience but it’s “not something he’s all together proud of,” said Gibbs.