As if Barack Obama didn’t have enough on his plate.
Revelations that our President-elect is a smoker comes as a surprise to many who never saw him light up on the campaign trail. Now the question- will he quit?
He told Tom Brokaw of NBC that he “had stopped” his habit of no more than seven or eight cigarettes a day. His doctor describes his smoking history as “intermittent.” He’s tried to quit using Nicorette gum, but always fell off the wagon.
One in five Americans feel his pain. Down from 28 percent two decades ago, a pattern of quitting and starting again is all too common.
But for the first time since the mid-1960s, the number of Americans who smoke cigarettes has fallen to 19.8 percent according to a recent CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
It takes the average smoker 8 to 10 times before he is able to quit successfully,” Dr. Steven A. Schroeder, director of the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at the University of California, San Francisco tells the New York Times.
Dr. Schroeder says counseling along with nicotine replacements raise quitting rates at one year to 15 to 30 percent.
The nicotine found in gum is known to speed up the heart rate and may raise blood pressure, but is still considered safer than smoking.
Nicotine is strongly addictive and withdrawal can leave people irritable, restless, sleepless, and depressed – something many Americans would not like to see in their new president.
But Neal Benowitz of the University of California, San Francisco, and an expert in nicotine addiction, says there is little evidence that impairment such as difficulty concentrating and solving problems, is seen in occasional smokers like Obama.
He tells the Wall Street Journal Blog, ““I’m sure there might be a time when he wants to sneak out to the Rose Garden and have a cigarette. I’m not really sure it helps him think better, but if he thinks that and it’s an occasional cigarette, it’s not going to do much to him.” #