The tobacco was introduced to US in the 17th century. During the evolution of the tobacco industry, politics has been deeply involved in the development in this important field. People and media were interested in whether the presidents smoked and if smoked, what brands did they use, what style did they like etc. In this article, I discuss the presidents who smoked and stories related to their smoking.
President Andrew Jackson (1829-1837)
President Jackson once said, “Doctor, I can do anything you think proper, except give up coffee and tobacco.” His favorite time was sat in his rocking chair and consumed two cigarettes every evening.
President Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877)
President Grant may be the number one president associated with cigarettes. He smoked twenty cigars a day. The two-term president enjoyed illustrating with his beloved cigar. When he suffered from depression, he wrote that he was so unhappy that he had “not smoked a cigar.”
Tobacco was his chief solace. His friends knew this and sent him thousand boxes of cigarettes. He continued the habit in his lifetime.
President Grant died of throat cancer.
President Herbert Hoover (1929-1933)
President Hoover enjoyed smoking cigars. However, he refused to allow photographs while cigar smoking. During his presidency, it started to realize tobacco smoking causes illnesses like cancer and emphysema. He worried that young people who smoked cigarettes were under the influence of a dangerous drug and were prone to criminal acts of violence.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945)
President Roosevelt loved cigarettes. He was often seen holding cigarette at his hand in the public.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961)
President Eisenhower was a heavy smoker. His personal physician suggested that he would have to cut down his smoking from four packs of cigarettes per day to one pack. After a few days of limiting his smoking, He decided that counting his cigarettes was worse than not smoking at all, and he quit. He never had another cigarette in his life. He was frequently asked how he did it; he replied that it was simple, all he did was put smoking out of his mind.
President John F. Kennedy (1961-1963)
President Kennedy was a social smoker. He preferred small cigars. Numerous photos show him smoking such a cigar. There was also the legendary story of Kennedy’s orders to Press Secretary Pierre Salinger to go out and find as many of his favorite H. Upmann Petit Coronas before the president signed the Cuban trade embargo (see CIGAR AFICIONADO, Vol. 1, No. 1). Salinger found nearly 1,200 of the cigars, bought them, and reported the purchase to Kennedy. The President promptly signed the embargo.
President Richard M. Nixon (1969-1974)
President Nixon was a social smoker and enjoyed ritualistic cigar puffing as a statesmanlike gesture with other leaders. The Nixon administration in the early ’70s was the last stand of the cigar at the White House. Besides being the last president to smoke cigars, he was the last presidency during which cigars were offered to men after dinner in the Green Room.
President Gerald R. Ford (1974-1977)
President Ford loved pipe smoker. He preferred a small and easy to carry pipe and his favorite tobaccos were Field & Stream and Walnut. He smoked eight pipes of tobacco a day. He was the last U.S. president to use tobacco on a regular basis. He quit smoking late.
President Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)
President Reagan was a social smoker. He had been a smoker, but quit when his brother developed cancer due to smoking. Long before Ronald Reagan was the 40th President of the United States, he was an actor. Like many actors in the ’40s & ’50s, he endorsed cigarettes.
President Barack H. Obama (2009-2017)
President Obama has been smoking since he was a college freshman. His favorite brand is Marboro Red. During the peak of his smoking days, he had seven or eight cigarettes a day. He quit smoking before his run for president in 2008.
In the modern era, Truman, Carter, Clinton, and the Bushes are the smoke-free presidents. President Trump never smokes.
As of 2018, there are 44 presidents in US history. Among them, there are 10 smokers and most of them were considered social smokers. President Grant was a chain smoker and he finally died of throat cancer.
In 2009, President Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. The law allows the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate tobacco as a drug. The Center for Tobacco Products under FDA oversee the regulation.
The Bill bans candy-flavored cigarettes, requires the full disclosure to the FDA of all ingredients and additives in cigarettes, bans youth-focused marketing of cigarettes (such as sponsorship of sporting events and clothing and cigarette giveaways), prohibits the use of misleading terms like “light” and “mild” on tobacco products, and mandates new and stronger warning labels on tobacco products.
The legislation does not ban tobacco products and allow adults to make their own choices.
Right around the time President Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the tobacco industry underwent a new revolution, the booming electronic cigarettes in the US and around world.
The electronic cigarettes or vaping industry evolves rapidly and becomes multi-billion-dollar enterprise. It is a nice idea to tout electronic cigarettes as a way to help people quit traditional tobacco smoking. There are indeed a lot of testimonials that electronic cigarette has helped people quit smoking.
Electronic cigarette industry is still in his budding stage. Rebrandsmoking and his parent company, Kcancer, are interested in following the development of the industry, witnessing its impact on human health, and welcoming another revolution in the future. Our presidents will certainly play a presidential role in the evolution of the tobacco industry.