President Obama joked that he doesn’t smoke anymore because he doesn’t want to face the wrath of his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama.
President Obama — in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly — greeted U.N. Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai after the Civil Society Roundtable and asked about his efforts to quit smoking.
“I hope you quit smoking,” President Obama said. Kiai then admitted that he still enjoys a cigarette from time-to-time before asking Obama the same question.
“I haven’t had a cigarette in six years… that’s because I’m scared of my wife,” Obama joked.
President Obama hasn’t been shy about his struggles with nicotine even as he tried to pass health care reform in 2009.
“I’ve said before that, as a former smoker, I constantly struggle with it. Have I fallen off the wagon sometimes? Yes. Am I a daily smoker, a constant smoker? No,” he told reporters at a 2009 press conference. “I don’t do it in front of my kids. I don’t do it in front of my family. And, you know, I would say that I am 95 percent cured. But there are times where… there are times where I mess up.”
Cigarettes don’t exactly fit into the FLOTUS’ “Let’s Move” campaign, but she once told iVillage that their daughters, Sasha and Malia, would be the ones to influence him to kick the habit for good.
“I know that his ability to ultimately kick the habit was because of the girls, because they’re at the age now where you can’t hide,” she said. “I think that he didn’t want to look his girls in the eye and tell them that they shouldn’t do something that he was still doing.”