If this picture had been released during the campaign, it would certainly have been appropriated for "gotcha" purposes. That explains why former Occidental College classmate Lisa Jack had these photos of Obama locked up in a safe deposit box till now.
If the images serve a purpose going forward -- beyond confirming the early and long-standing nature of Obama's cool, jaunty side -- I would hope this one does have some traction.
Obama, if somewhat reluctantly, has spoken up recently about his battle with nicotine. To the extent that the man has been over-idealized, part of the post-election process in building a more pragmatic relationship with Obama involves realizing the man -- like all of us -- has and feels his stresses; has both constructive and not-so-constructive releases for them; and, yes, does have his demons.
See the whole series: Obama: The College Years (TIME)
(image Lisa Jack, Eagle Rock, CA., 1980)