Which U.S. Presidents smoked (or didn’t, depending on the default)?

Is this even something we can document? It was a random thought that occurred to me when I saw a picture of Warren G. Harding with a cigarette as he spoke to Thomas Edison.

Which Presidents smoked?

As I consider it, though, I wonder if we should just start with the presumption that smoking was typical through most of history, and so I should ask the opposite:

Which of our Presidents didn’t smoke?

I know, in modern times, that Obama did occasionally, and that Reagan cited his jelly bean habit as his method for quitting. Gerald Ford notably smoked a pipe, and JFK ordered a bunch of Cuban Cigars right before enacting an embargo on the island. FDR had his cigarette holder. What about honest Abe, or any of the founders (especially guys who grew tobacco)?

Any other notable smokers in the White House?

In spite of the fact that tobacco was a long-time main cash crop at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson supposedly was not a smoker.

Grant was a cigar smoker, which may have led to the throat cancer that caused his death.

Lyndon Johnson was a heavy cigarette smoker before his first heart attack in 1955. He mostly gave up smoking for many years after that, but then took it up again, starting the very day he left the White House.

James Buchanan probably smoked pole.

Trump, to hear his supporters tell it, is such a pure and godly man that he never smoked or drank. Clinton loved cigars, but probably for reasons not related to smoking. A cursory Googling suggests that Biden does not smoke.


(my emojinal journey upon reading this)


So, let’s see, that’s a homophobic slur and two political potshots, before finally getting around to a minimal answer to the question. Yeah, that’ll be a Warning.

In researching my own OP, I found an article that provides some answers

How could I forget Grant? Apparently, he was photographed with a cigar, and that led people to send him thousands. This over abundance greatly increased the frequency of his smoking.

Except that says that before the deluge of cigars, he was a pipe smoker. It could well be that the gifts didn’t change his quantity of tobacco use, merely its form, in which case he probably would have gotten cancer anyway.

Teddy Roosevelt was reportedly forced to smoke cigars and drink coffee by his father as a young boy (despite having asthma), but there are conflicting stories about his smoking habits as an adult, ranging from “gave it up completely” to “smoked cigars every day”.

Not just despite asthma: because of his asthma. The cigar was thought to be a cure.

(Note, too, that he came from one of the wealthiest families in New York City. This was the best medical treatment at the time).

Didn’t Obama smoke intermittently? Just not where he thought people could see him.

Yes, he did.

Meanwhile, in my quest to research this question, I found a picture of a pregnant Jackie Kennedy smoking a cigarette. Smoking was something she usually avoided in photographs. Times sure have changed since 1963.

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Mentioned in passing in the OP, but yep.

Jackie was pregnant with Patrick in this photo. I wonder if her smoking contributed to his premature birth and death at less than two days old.