Royalty and statesmen

Pictured in Kenya long before he embarked upon the stress-filled road to the White House, Barack Obama has his heart set on being a non-smoking President
Photo: Rex
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On-off smoker Mr Obama aims to kick the habit before taking office

18 DECEMBER 2008
Ask people what they are hoping to give up for New Year and there's a good chance they plan to quit smoking. Among those hoping to kick the habit in 2009 is US president-elect Barack Obama.

Unlike most, however, the future US leader has a strict deadline. Since smoking is banned in the White House, he has until his inauguration day January 20 to stop.

Otherwise fit and healthy - he works-out in the gym six days a week - the 47-year-old pledged to give up, at his wife Michelle's request, before embarking on his bid for the White House in 2007.

Since then, however, the future president - who's just been voted Time magazine's Person Of The Year - admits he's occasionally "fallen off the wagon". Which is perhaps not surprising considering the immense stresses he must have been under in the run up to the election. As with the political battle, the new leader seems on course to win this one, too, revealing he only smokes on rare occasions these days.

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