White House Insists Obama Isn’t Holding Cigarettes in This Photo

The president once said he kicked the habit “because I’m scared of my wife.”

ByABC News
June 10, 2015, 4:28 PM

— -- Old habits are hard to quit.

But the White House insists an Instagram photo showing President Obama holding a small rectangular white box is not what it seems.

Since the photo posted earlier this week showing President Obama on a balcony with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi during the G7 Summit in Germany, social media has been abuzz about what the president has grasped in his hand.

Speculation has floated around the box's size and shape, which bears similarity to a cigarette box.

When asked directly in Wednesday’s press briefing whether the president was holding a pack of cigarettes, White House press secretary Josh Earnest shot down the suggestion outright.

“He does not,” Earnest said.

When pressed on the topic, Earnest said he has not raised the issue with the president. "They aren't cigarettes; let's move on," he said.

The president. 53, has openly discussed his attempts to kick the habit. He hadn’t smoked in years, Obama said in 2013, “because I’m scared of my wife.”