Were you suprised that Obama smoked?

Was anyone else surprised when they learned that Obama smoked? Now, I will gladly give the man props for quitting.

The fact that he did smoke just seemed odd to me. I couldn’t figure out why at first. I think it seemed so odd because I don’t think of well-to-do, educated people smoking at all.

Since this is the straight dope, I know the logical response to that last statement is “The top ten highest income earning and educated people that I know all smoke like a chimney!!” So, just for the record, here are some Gallop poll results.

Considering that the Obamas are in the far far lower right of that table, it is somewhat surprising. Was anyone else surprised? Maybe it was in contrast to Bush who was somewhat of a health nut.

*And just in case anyone wants to dispute if the Obamas are well-to-do or educated couple: Michelle graduated from Princeton and received her J.D. from Harvard. Barack graduated from Columbia and received his J.D. from Harvard. They made $4.1 and $2.6 million in 2007 and 2008, respectively (the only years I could find).

He did grow up in a time when smoking was declining but still acceptable.

My high school(late 70s, California) had smoking areas for students.

I wasn’t surprised. Like you predicted, I know many very well-off individuals who smoke. As for Bush - his wife Laura is a voracious smoker.

No, I wasn’t surprised (it first got on my radar when Obama announced his presidency…was reading an article about him and it mentioned he was a smoker). He’s a bit younger than I am, but still of my ‘generation’, and a lot of folks from my time are smokers.


I was surprised when I first learned it a few years ago, but it actually made me like him more.

Not too surprising. He admitted to some harder drug use in his Highschool days, and in my experience at least, most of the people I know who experimented with that kind of thing continued smoking tobacco well after they left the other drugs behind.

FWIW, they were considerably less well off prior his book sales taking off after the '04 Dem convention. But in anycase, even then I’m sure there combined salary was more then the 90,000$ a year that makes up the top income bracket on your chart.

I don’t get the proposed correlation between “educated, well-to-do. . .” and having a substance addiction. Surely you’re not saying that’s the norm? Educated people are no more immune from self-abuse than anybody else.

See the link in the OP. At least when it comes to tabacco, it appears that education and income do make one more immune to self-abuse.

I wasn’t really surprised. I was surprised when I heard that he’d promised his wife that he’d quit if he could run for President. Because being on the campaign trail and under huge stress sounds like a great time to quit smoking…?

Apparently he has quit now, which is very nice to hear.

The link of a photo posted on some random blog that doesn’t even say anything about where it came from? Hmm. According to this gallop poll college grads making over $90,000 are the most likely to kill hookers.
But no, I’m not surprised. I’m more surprised to learn that someone his age never smoked.

You think someone bothered to mock up a fake image of poll results to show correlations between education and smoking? It’d be like, the worlds most blase prankster. Next he’ll produce a graph showing household saving rates are anticorrelated with income. BWHAHA!!

But anyhoo, the blog does in fact say where it came from. Here’s the same image on gallups site

This is contrary to my friend that is on his secret service detail. He said that during his first two years in office, the POTUS smoked like a chimney. There were little stations set up in discrete places all over the West wing, on AF1, every presidential vehicle, with toothbrush/toothpaste, breath spray, and fabreeze.

I’m about 4 years younger than him and have never smoked.

I was surprised. I’m glad he finally had the gumption to give it up. John Boehner also smokes. That surprised me, too.

I didn’t find it a surprise that any of the (1900s and forward) presidents or First Ladies smoked–except maybe Jackie.

What does he smoke? Orange peels?

Why would this be surprising, especially if you knew the amount of money he’s been making? Millionaires have the cash to try every single freaking thing in the world if they want to, and frequently feelings of entitlement and the immortality of youth (at least in their younger days) leads them to try every single freaking drug they can lay their hands on. Cigarettes are fucking nothing.

It’s a lefty thing. Sartre, Castro, Kim Jong-Il – all big-time smokers.


I was a little surprised. He just doesn’t seem like he’d do it.

And here I thought it was age and prostate problems that made you immune.