President Obama has apparently come closer to quitting smoking, at least in the last nine months.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday that he has not witnessed any evidence of such activity in that time period.

And the press secretary said he put in a lot of effort to kick the habit.

"[H]e understands its dangers, and I think has -- has done a lot of extraordinary work to wrestle with that habit, as millions of Americans have."

"I think he has worked extremely hard," Gibbs said. 

He couldn't remember the last setting or what the exact circumstances were when he last saw the president have a puff -- if he was stressed, doing it for enjoyment, or just relaxing.

"And I think he would tell you, even when, in the midst of a tax agreement and a START deal and all the other things that accumulate, that even where he might have once found some comfort in that, he's -- he's -- he's pushed it away," the press secretary said.

Gibbs added that it's something that the president has thought about for "quite some time."

During the briefing, the White House press corps peppered the press secretary with questions about the smoking habit on five different occasions.

The president has been using nicotine gum in the past, and Gibbs said he continues to do so.

When asked if anyone else has taken up smoking since being in the White House, this led to a lot of laughter in the room, but Gibbs said he didn't know. He did know however that Marvin Nicholson, President Obama's golf partner and White House trip director, had smoked for as long as the press secretary has known him, and has quit as well.

Another question that brought rounds of laughter was if those individuals started gaining weight now. Gibbs joked that in order to answer that he'd have to go on the record as an anonymous "senior administration official."

"This is not something that he's proud of. He knows that it's not good for him. He doesn't like it...and doesn't like children to know about it, obviously, including his," Gibbs said.