One of the reader comments excused Obama because cigarettes are "as addicting as heroin"; an argument I've often used to support pointing smokers to THR products which are much less harmful but very effective substitutes for nicotine addicts such as Swedish snus and even vaping.
I can sympathize with the Post's viewpoint. President Obama is nicotine addicted. When he smokes, everyone gets up in arms. When he's chomping on ineffective nicotine gum at diplomatic events in an effort not to smoke, he's called disrespectful.
In fact, there is not much I can disagree with the reasonable and compassionate points made by the author or the readers except for their conclusion.
The president does have an incredibly stressful job and being expected to overcome a lifetime nicotine addiction is a lot to expect of him.
The Washington Post rationale that "Smoking is bad for you. We all know this. It has been linked to lung cancer and emphysema and you-name-it. We know, too, that Obama has quit or tried to quit since becoming president." is true.
The article continues.... "One cigarette takes 11 minutes off your life," Obama's NIH would tell him. So smoke three and don't plan on watching a last episode of "Parks and Rec." which may also be true but trivializes nicotine addiction and the burden the president bears physically and mentally every day.
For starters, we don't know that Obama only smokes three cigarettes a day. What if he's secretly smoking ten or even 20 cigarettes a day? If Swedish snus hadn't saved me from my lifelong addiction to cigarettes for my nicotine fix and I was President of the United States, I'd be smoking double that on a good day in today's crisis-filled world.
Who knows how many 11 minute chunks of time the president has removed from his lifespan as a long-time smoker? What if he has a heart attack 3 seconds before the Russians unleash their nuclear arsenal and America can't respond in time?
OK, that is an unlikely scenario admittedly but smokers do suffer from fatigue, high blood pressure, and other health issues every day they smoke. Love him or hate him, do we really want the president of these United States not able to work at full capacity, especially considering the stress that comes with the job?
What is pathetic (or criminal) is that "Obama's NIH" is fighting tooth and nail to prevent nicotine addicts including the president from switching to Swedish snus, which is 99% less harmful to a smoker than cigarettes and has over 45 years of data to back that up. No spitting and especially chomping either.
E-cigarettes and vapor products are too new to really quantify the level of risk as specifically as snus. That said, I have never read or heard of any literature; any studies out there, which can categorically state that vapor is as harmful as cigarettes. Logically, vapor products have to be safer than cigarettes to a smoker; a lot safer.
What is extremely disheartening is that conclusions aside, the thrust and reasonableness of the Washington Post article applies to all nicotine-addicted smokers here and around the world; not just President Obama.
What is hypocritically true is that you will never read, see, or hear the author's words or those of the supportive reader comments applied to any other cigarette smoker in the US.
To the contrary, cigarette smokers will continue to be vilified along with effective reduced risk nicotine solutions like Swedish snus.
In a world where Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner is hailed as a hero, imagine the wonder of the president coming out about his nicotine addiction, dealing with stress, his smoking, and his journey to virtually harmless nicotine-rich Swedish snus. That, Mr. Bump, would be your positive role model.
To the Washington Post, Philip Bump, NIH, FDA, Obama apologists, fans and foes everywhere: Let President Obama have some snus, already.
Swedish Snus Ambassador to the United States
Reporting for SnusCENTRAL.org