Saturday 1 October 2016

Butt out: Barack Obama finally gives up smoking

US president, who had a long battle with cigarettes, has lowered his cholesterol level and gained muscle – but still chews nicotine gum

Published 09/03/2016 | 07:26

A photo posted by a spokesman for Matteo Renzi showing the Italian Prime Minster with Barack Obama at the G7
A photo posted by a spokesman for Matteo Renzi showing the Italian Prime Minster with Barack Obama at the G7

President Barack Obama is winning his battle with tobacco despite occasionally chewing nicotine gum and is in excellent overall health, his doctor has announced.

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The president has improved his health from his last physical in 2014 by lowering his cholesterol level and gaining muscle.

Barack Obama as a college freshman at Occidental College in Los Angeles in 1980
Barack Obama as a college freshman at Occidental College in Los Angeles in 1980

Mr Obama's battle to give up cigarettes has been well-documented. He promised his wife Michelle in 2008 that he would quit in return for her support for his presidential bid.

However, he later opened up that he had fallen "off the wagon" several times since.

Dr Ronny Jackson, the president's physician, said Mr Obama "remains tobacco free and only drinks alcohol occasionally and in moderation". He exercises daily and "continues to focus on healthy lifestyle choices".

"His adherence to a healthy diet and a consistent exercise programme has resulted in an improved lean body mass and lower cholesterol level," he said.

Mr Obama, 54, weighs 175 pounds (80 kilograms), which is around five pounds (2.2 kilograms) less than from his last assessment.

Dr Jackson said all clinical data indicates the president is very healthy and that he will remain so for the duration of his presidency.

Mr Obama takes Vitamin D, Nexium as needed for occasional acid reflux, and he occasionally uses nicotine gum, Dr Jackson added.

There was speculation last June that Mr Obama had started smoking again after a picture emerged of him at a G7 summit with Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister, appearing to take a cigarette out of a packet.

During the peak of his smoking days, Mr Obama apparently had seven or eight cigarettes a day, although he told Men's Health magazine three was more typical.

Mr Obama's favourite brand was reportedly Marlboro Red, and on the presidential campaign trail in 2008 was known to sneak cigarettes from his aides.

Reuters

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