NEW YORK (CBS) – President Barack Obama revealed Monday that he has not had a cigarette in six years, and an open microphone caught an unguarded and funny exchange in which the commander-in-chief acknowledged the driving force behind his kicking the smoking habit.
“I hope you quit smoking,” Obama told United Nations Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai, following an event at the U.N. General Assembly in New York. A microphone nearby captured the president’s conversation with Kiai, a lobbyist for civil rights causes in Kenya.
“Sometimes,” responded Kiai. He admitted that he does still smoke occasionally and then asked the President if he does the same.
“No, no,” said Obama, who told Kiai he chews Nicorette gum to fight the urge.
“I haven’t had a cigarette in probably six years,” he said. “That’s because I’m scared of my wife.”
The pair laughed.
Obama’s smoking habit received plenty of attention after his election in 2008, and while he tried to pass health care reform in 2009.
At the time, he acknowledged his struggle to kick the habit. Now, it’s clear who had a major role in helping him do that – First Lady Michelle Obama.