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Almost all the big puffers were male, with Brad Pitt, Nicolas Cage, Gene Hackman, Robert DeNiro and Mel Gibson topping the list.

Recommendations range from slapping an “R” rating on movies with smoking scenes (to restrict viewing by kids) to encouraging actors to join Ben Affleck, Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks and Will Ferrell in skipping the cigs, at least on camera.

Meanwhile, for smokers who are fighting to quit today, know the Obamas feel your pain.

“That was one of my prerequisites for entering into this race … that he couldn’t be a smoking president,” Michelle Obama said in a February 2007 “60 Minutes” interview. “He’s not going to smoke,” she said confidently, “because … he’ll have to hear too much from me.”

“It’s like a recovering alcoholic,” Mr. Obama agreed. “One day at a time. … One Nicorette stick of gum at a time.”

The couple laughed on camera, but Mrs. Obama couldn’t resist a final comment.

“Please America, watch,” she said, glancing into the camera. “Keep an eye on him. And call me if you see him smoking.”

&8226; Cheryl Wetzstein can be reached at cwetzstein@washingtontimes.com.