The President Needs Your Help to Quit
The President's comments about his 'habit' being '95% cured' while still smoking, with co-dependency upon nicotine gum for 28 months, evidences a recovery understanding that's an utter mess. He needs our help, a jolt of reality, a quality education and he needs it now.
What lesson is he teaching them?
Image created by Pankaj Chaturvedi, M.D., Mumbai, India
Have you successfully broken nicotine's grip upon your mind and life? If so, President Obama could certainly use a hand. As his below quit smoking journal indicates, his attempts to quit for everyone but himself have failed. Although he admits to repeated recent smoking relapses, and two years of ongoing nicotine gum use, at a White House press conference last week he diagnosed himself as being "95% cured." Reporters laughed.
Intelligent smokers often harbor deep beliefs that they'll be able to figure this out all on their own. They fail to realize that knowledge isn't just power but a quitting method. Unfortunately, many cling to rationalizations like the President's and remain in a state of dependency ignorance until it's too late.
We expect the secret service to take bullets to protect our President but what's expected of us? WhyQuit is home to thousands of the most educated ex-users on earth. What if the greatest current threat to the President's life is his co-dependency upon smoked and chewed nicotine? What if bad news is just around the corner? Is it time to laugh or time to reach out and help, a "fierce urgency of now"?
This link to the President's White House contact form makes reaching out easy - www.whitehouse.gov/contact/. You can also call the White House at (202) 456-1111 and leave a message, fax the President at (202) 456-2461 or write the President or First Lady Michelle at:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
The President's below journal is loaded with destructive rationalizations that include: it's just too hard, everyone falls of the wagon, I can't quit, my job is too stressful, nicotine helps me cope with stress, I'm better than most nicotine addicts because I just have an itty-bitty "habit," I'm almost cured, I'm quitting for Michelle, the girls and the American people, smoking is just a "nasty little habit," nicotine is medicine, its use therapy, it's a performance enhancing drug yet totally safe.
The President has assured us that science will be driven by facts, not pharmaceutical industry financial influence. Yet two years of gum use must by now have awakened him to the realization that replacement nicotine is rooted in sham science, grounded in placebo controls and the fiction that nicotine addicts in clinical trials could not tell whether or not they were experiencing full-blown withdrawal.
Although the gold standard in most disease pharmacology study areas, placebo use in drug addiction studies has been a license to steal. While doubling placebo rates in clinical trials, in real-world competition, with real cold turkey quitters, cessation pharmacology products have fallen flat on their face. Placebo is not a real quitting method, clinical trials measured frustration levels not effectiveness, and contrary to TV commercials placebo is not cold turkey. The industry continues to refuse to engage in honest trials that pit its products against educated cold turkey quitters, as doing so would cost billions in profits.
Unquestionably the #1 male role model of U.S. youth, the President should fully expect his chemical addiction to continue to make news (and jokes) throughout his time in office. Filtered, millions of students will likely hear just one message, "My President smokes." On the cessation side, 40+ million nicotine addicts hail the President as a potent source of a host of continued smoking rationalizations: "If the most powerful man on earth can't quit then how can I?"; "If smoking was really so harmful the President would quit!" and "I've cut down by half so I'm 50% cured."
Believe it or not, you likely know vastly more about successful long-term nicotine dependency recovery than the President of the United States. The time to reach out is now, while there's still time. Let's show him we care. Still just one rule ... no nicotine today, never take another puff, dip or chew!
President Obama's Quitting Journal
December 24, 2005 - Freshman Senator Obama says he's trying to quit smoking for his daughters. "The flesh is weak." "It's an ongoing battle. I have my gum, my patches and all that stuff."
November 18, 2006 - Question about smoking: "I'm struggling with those. I've quit before. It's one of those habits that creep up when you're stressed and you have to shake it off. It's not something I'm proud of."
February 6, 2007 - I've never been a heavy smoker," no more than 10 a day. "I've quit periodically over the last several years. I've got an ironclad demand from my wife that in the stresses of the campaign I don't succumb. I've been chewing Nicorette strenuously." "Actually Nicorette works pretty well."
February 11, 2007 - Michelle Obama: "I hate it." "That's why he doesn't do it anymore. I'm proud to say. I outed him -- I'm the one who outed him on the smoking. That was one of my prerequisites for, you know, entering this race, is that, you know, he couldn't be a smoking president."
March 15, 2007 - Question: "How's quitting smoking going?" Obama: "Nicorette is going just fine."
August 2007 - Reporter claims Senator Obama reeked of cigarette smoke smell during an interview.
September 11, 2007 - Video clip of Senator Obama chewing nicotine gum before a Senate Committee meeting
February 28, 2008 - Senator Obama asserts success in quitting smoking, a deal breaker with Michelle. I had been sneaking 3 to 4 cigarettes a day but I've been chewing on Nicorette which tastes like chewing on ground pepper, "but it does help."
April 2, 2008 - Motivation to quit: "After your wife saying on 60 Minutes that if you see Barak with a cigarette let me know." "I fell off the wagon a couple of times during the course of it and then was able to get back on." "It's a struggle like everything else. And I think that it's important to just keep in mind I have a nine-year-old daughter and a six-year-old daughter and I want to give them away in their weddings and I want to see my grand-kids and I want to set a good example for all these young people here and I want to make sure that as President of the United States I'm going to try to stay healthy ..." In advising smokers: "You guys need to get it straight. You guys need to get on the case" (see minute 31:10 of clip).
May 29, 2008 - Obama's physician releases a health statement which mentions smoking and asserts: he "has quit this practice on several occasions and is currently using Nicorette gum with success."
July 25, 2008 - Video clip of Senator Obama throwing Nicorette gum to a supporter who asked if he still smokes: "I do not." [How did you quit?] "Nicorette, you what one? Here, try one out. Now that's 2 milligrams because I only had like 3 or 4 a day but - 3 or 4 cigarettes a day when I was smoking - but if you're a heavier smoker you may need the 4 milligrams. It's not bad, though. It works well."
October 2008 - "There wasn't some dramatic moment [when I quit]." "Michelle had been putting pressure on me for a while. I was never really a heavy smoker. Probably at my peak I was smoking seven or eight a day. More typical was three. So it wasn't a huge challenge with huge withdrawal symptoms. There have been a couple of times during the campaign when I fell off the wagon and bummed one, and I had to kick it again. But I figure, seeing as I'm running for president, I need to cut myself a little slack."
December 7, 2008 - President-Elect Obama declares that "I have" quit smoking" but acknowledges that "there are times where I have fallen off the wagon" "You will not see any violations" of the White House no smoking zone policy.
February 2, 2009 - Question: Have you had a cigarette since you been to the White House? "I haven't had one on these grounds. Sometimes it's hard." "But I'm sticking to it."
June 22, 2009 - The President signs FDA tobacco regulation bill, during which he twice refers to smoking as a "habit" (not an addiction or chemical dependency).
June 23, 2009 - Video clip in which the President acknowledges falling off the wagon here and there, yet claims to be 95% cured.
Additional Articles About President Obama's Quitting Efforts
- A letter to President Obama: one nicotine addict to another
- Why Obama and smokers fear quitting
- The President needs your help to quit
- Obama smoking assertions fail fact checks
- Obama can't quit smoking for Kinsley or America's youth
- Have smokers been hoodwinked and bamboozled by placebos?
- Obama youth nicotine dependency lessons unacceptable
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- WhyQuit.com - WhyQuit is the Internet's oldest forum devoted to the art, science and psychology of cold turkey quitting, the stop smoking method used by the vast majority of all successful long-term ex-smokers.
- Nicotine Addiction 101 - WhyQuit's basic guide to understanding nicotine dependency.
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- Joel's Library - Joel Spitzer began presenting stop smoking clinics and seminars in 1976. WhyQuit's education director since 2000, Joel's Library is home to his life's work. It includes Joel's "Daily Quitting Lesson Guide," more than 100 original stop smoking articles, his free ebook "Never Take Another Puff," and to his ever growing collection of more than 400 stop smoking videos.
- "Freedom from Nicotine - The Journey Home" - Written by John R. Polito, a former 30-year heavy smoker and WhyQuit's 1999 founder, Freedom from Nicotine shares the science underlying nicotine dependency and successful abrupt nicotine cessation.
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- Freedom - Freedom was WhyQuit's original 1999 stop smoking support group. No longer accepting members, its 453,000 archived posts continue to share recovery insights.