Obama to Kiai: I hope you quit smoking

September 24, 2013 10:52 am
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Obama and Kiai who both attended Harvard University Law School met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on Monday/FILE
Obama and Kiai who both attended Harvard University Law School met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on Monday/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 24 – US President Barrack Obama has urged former Kenya National Commission on Human Right chairman Maina to quit smoking.

Obama and Kiai who both attended Harvard University Law School met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on Monday.

In footage captured by CNN, President Obama and Kiai, who is attending the conference as the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association, are caught in an off-guard conversation.

“I hope you quit smoking,” he told Kiai, who responds by saying he smokes “sometimes,” Obama said he chews nicotine gum and that “I haven’t had a cigarette in probably six years.”

He then jokes: “That’ because I’m scared of my wife.”

Usually known for his healthy lifestyle, Obama has long had a weakness for cigarettes and depicted himself as a smoker in his memoir of his youth, “Dreams From My Father.”

Obama’s smoking habit and his efforts to quit became favourite topics in the US media from the time he started his campaign for the White House in the 2008 election.

In his first year in office, Obama described himself as “95 percent cured” from smoking but admitted he has occasionally “fallen off the wagon” in his efforts.

In December 2010, then White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that Obama had not smoked for nine months and had been “stubborn” in trying to quit, despite the stress of the job.

First lady Michelle Obama, a campaigner for public health, has been open about her distaste for her husband’s smoking but said that he never lit up in front of their two daughters.

In February 2011, she said that the president had not smoked for a year and that she was not giving him a hard time about the issue.

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