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On smoking, Mr. President, ‘Don’t Ask’ for a cigarette, ‘Don’t Tell’ a smoker that you want&

Posted Mar 01 2010 12:00am

An Open Letter to American President Barack Obama

Dear Mr. President:

I know how difficult it is to quit smoking.  I would suggest that the mere fact that you can count on one hand the number of cigarettes you have each day is a great starting point.

Quitting is a process, at least it has been for most of us, not a one-time event.  Don’t be discouraged but please don’t be shy with sharing openly about your efforts.  Being more public about it could be a very effective tool in a national campaign.

It’s time you called out your enablers.  Who is dealing you these nicotine missiles?  I’m sure they aren’t asking you for a quarter each time, just as I’m sure you aren’t going to the corner store closest to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for your pack of Marlboros (or whatever). 

Another idea – make rules for yourself around smoking.  I’m sure it goes without saying that you can’t smoke in the White House.  New rule – don’t go wherever it is on the property that smoking staffers gather.  Avoid them when they’re outside.

Your smoking, however infrequent, does not meet with the approval of Michelle, Sasha or Malia.  You promised them before the election that you would stop.  Ask for their help.  Promise to ask them for permission to smoke each and every time you are tempted.  Of course you know their answer but maybe the exercise will remind you of one of the things at stake with your smoking – the example you set for your daughters.

Why don’t you ask the American people, and those of us who follow you on Facebook around the world, for help.  We could offer tips like what worked for us.  For example, when you have a craving drink ice cold water.  There’s something about that rush of refreshing cold which curbs cravings.  You have a lot of serious national and international issues on your plate  which most of us wouldn’t trade with you for the world.  However, we can help support you if you really want to quit smoking which, in my heart of hearts, I believe that you do.

I urge you to engage with us.  We’re with you – could there even be non-partisan support for you? – and I congratulate you for continuing to try to end your dependence on nicotine.

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