Obama, a Recent Smoker, Scolds Big Tobacco

November 17, 2011 - 6:05 AM

FDA Cigarette Labels

This image provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 shows one of nine new warning labels cigarette makers will have to use by the fall of 2012. In the most significant change to U.S. cigarette packs in 25 years, the FDA's the new warning labels depict in graphic detail the negative health effects of tobacco use. (AP Photo/U.S. Food and Drug Administration)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama, recently pronounced tobacco-free, has tough words for cigarette makers.

In a White House web video, the president says some tobacco companies are fighting new cigarette warning labels because they don't want to be honest about the consequences. Several tobacco firms have sued to block graphic new Food and Drug Administration labels for cigarette packs.

The Obama video observes Thursday's 36th "Great American Smokeout" by the American Cancer Society.

Obama says the country has made progress in reducing the number of Americans who smoke but notes that 46 million are still addicted.

Obama has fought his own smoking habit by chewing nicotine gum. His last medical report, issued Oct. 31, declared him tobacco-free.

He concedes quitting smoking is hard and adds, "Believe me, I know."