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Barack Obama jokes he quit smoking because he’s afraid of his wife

An open CNN microphone recorded Barack Obama joking on Monday about why he quit smoking: he's scared of the first lady.

ABC News reported President Obama was chatting quietly about smoking to Maina Kiai, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, when a nearby microphone picked up the conversation.

"I hope you quit smoking," Obama says to Kiai, to which the diplomat responds, "Sometimes."

"I chew Nicorette," Obama says, followed by a few inaudible words before the president speaks up again.

"No, no. I haven't had a cigarette in probably six years," Obama says. "I'm scared of my wife," he adds, then smiles broadly.

[ Related: Obama’s foot on Oval Office desk sends Republicans into a tizzy ]

President Obama has discussed his smoking addiction with media in the past, saying he chews Nicorette gum. ABC News reported in 2008 that he began the fight to quit at his wife's request when he decided to run for president.

However, the president said in 2009 he had smoked since pledging to quit, though he was "95 per cent cured."

"Once you've gone down this path, then, you know, it's something you continually struggle with," he said to McClatchy Newspapers at the time, according to ABC.

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