10/08/2008 AT 06:15 PM EDT
Barack Obama is trying to kick his smoking habit while running for president, and he confesses it hasn't been easy.
"There have been a couple of times during the campaign when I fell off the wagon and bummed one, and I had to kick it again," Obama tells the November issue of Men's Health
. "But I figure, seeing as I'm running for president, I need to cut myself a little slack."
The Democratic candidate, 47, has this recommendation for would-be quitters: Eliminate "certain key connections – that first cigarette in the morning, or after a meal, or with a drink," he says.
Obama says he manages to squeeze in 45-minute workouts, six days a week. "I lift one day, do cardio the next," he says. He says he wishes his exercise sessions were longer, but admits that sometimes the need for sleep trumps time at the gym.
"I wish I was getting a 90-mintue workout. Most of my workouts have to come before my day starts," he says. "There's always a tradeoff between sleep and working out."