President Barack Obama says he hasn't smoked in six years because he's scared of his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama. The president was caught on an open mic confessing that he had kicked the nicotine habit for good, thanks to his wife's well-intentioned nagging. The conversation was broadcast on CNN Sept. 23 (see video).
“I hope you quit smoking,” Obama, 52, told United Nations official Maina Kiai at a U.N. roundtable discussion. “I chew Nicorette. I haven’t had a cigarette in probably six years. I’m scared of my wife.”
The president's admission comes just one week after the death of Terrie Hall, an anti-smoking advocate who appeared in a graphic anti-smoking ad campaign. Hall, who died of cancer at 53, is credited with having helped over 200,000 people quit smoking.
While Obama's confession may sound amusing, the Centers for Disease Control recently released a report indicating that scare tactics such as Hall's graphic video were effective at helping people kick the nicotine habit.
In 2011, First Lady Michelle Obama told reporters that the president had finally quit smoking after repeated attempts to quit. The president had been smoking since the 1970s and had tried to quit many times.
"I constantly struggle with it," he said. "Have I fallen off the wagon sometimes? Yes. Am I a daily smoker, a constant smoker? No. Once you've gone down this path, then it's something you continually struggle with."
The First Lady and President Obama are both health fanatics who work out daily. Mrs. Obama, 50, hits the White House gym between 4:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. every morning before her daughters wake up, doing a combination of cardio exercise, strength-training and plyometric moves.
"Barack and I work out every day," Mrs. Obama said. "When he isn’t traveling, that's the first thing we do. So we spend time together in the morning. I usually get to the gym before he does, but he is usually there either in the middle of my workout or right at the end."