You might not be surprised to learn that many presidents in the past have smoked. Whether they smoked pipes, cigars, or cigarettes, one thing is consistent: the leader of the free world is usually pretty stressed out. It only makes sense they’d need to blow off some steam with the occasional smoke.
Republican presidents have had to deal with Democratic opponents in Congress, not to mention the dishonest media. So, let’s take a look at the Republican presidents over the years who have been known to light up.
President Eisenhower, a veteran of World War II and a respected military officer, was also known to light up… frequently. According to contemporaries of Eisenhower, the military man was known to smoke as much as four packs per day, a high number even for the smoking-friendly era of the 1950s. What’s more, he hand-rolled his own cigarettes.
Before he won the presidency, however, a doctor told Eisenhower to quit for his health. The steely-eyed military veteran did so, quitting without the help of smoking cessation options. According to friends, Ike quit smoking cold turkey and never picked a cigarette up again in his life, even during his tenure in the White House. That’s an impressive display of willpower.
Richard Nixon is known for a lot of things, and one of them is his collection of vices. Nixon was often described as a man who was “against the world,” and his predilection for heavy drinking and smoking largely bears that reputation out.
According to friends of his, he was an avid cigar smoker. While he smoked cigarettes for years before winning the presidency, he quit before taking office. He never gave up the cigars, though, keeping his habit alive throughout his time in office.
While not president herself, Laura Bush was a resident of the White House while her husband, George Bush, was president. While the younger Bush was making his bid for the presidency, Laura confided that she would often slip away to unwind with a cigarette. After all, presidential campaigns are long, tiring work.
And, indeed, the 2000 election was a tight one. Bush’s race against Al Gore was so close that it came down to a recount in Florida to see who won. That’s a margin of error close enough to make anyone need a cigarette.