House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), a heavy cigarette smoker, told reporters he offered to quit the habit only if an ailing friend also gave it up.

The Camel Ultra Light smoker said Wednesday that “I have a close friend, who also smokes. He has some health issues, his doctors urged him to quit smoking. And I told him, if he’d quit, I’d quit.”

Curious reporters pressed the lawmaker, often characterized as a nicotine fiend, whether his friend gave up the habit.

But Boehner offered an equally characteristic response — he shrugged his shoulders and rolled his eyes, a tacit acknowledgment that his buddy did not quit puffing.

“Well, I wouldn’t do it for myself, but I’d do it for him,” Boehner said at a luncheon sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor.