Yet still, of all people, the President-elect is not able to summon the will to not smoke tobacco cigarettes. As much as he would like to quit, as much as Michelle and the girls want him to quit, he will presumably duck out of the White House, furtively avoiding his family and to the chagrin of his Secret Service detail, light up a cigarette.
Noting that our president started smoking as a teenager, Fitch explains the neurochemistry aspect of tobacco smoke:
When the young Obama smoked a tobacco cigarette, the main drug he inhaled was nicotine. Nicotine activates trans membrane receptors in cells, specifically the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (AChR ).
Less than 10 seconds after taking a puff of tobacco smoke, nicotine molecules crossed his blood-brain barrier and fit like tiny keys into a locks normally activated by the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. Nicotine causes the receptors to activate, change shape and initiate a chemical cascade.
Young Barack would have felt modest elevation of energy and mood from AChR receptor activation.
And what could Obama’s struggle with nicotine portend for federal drug law reform?
Hopefully, as Barack Obama puffs on his occasional cigarette outside the White House, he will think of the vast 2,000,000+ prisoner gulag stretched out across America before him. Far too many of these prisoners languish in jail because they were snared by the dishonest, cruel and self-serving laws against a plant.
More Americans are arrested for cannabis possession than all violent crimes combined.
As you take your smoke, please think, Mr. President, of all these American lives being crushed and crippled by such torments as mandatory minimums.
Of course! Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Unfortunately, I’d have to agree with Don that Obama’s first 100 days deserve only the lowest of passing grades when it comes to drug policy reform.