In a moment that was half human, half politician, Barack Obama turned a question about smoking into a message about health care.

Yesterday, the Democratic presidential hopeful appeared on MSNBC’s “Hardball” with Chris Matthews at West Chester University in Pennsylvania when the subject of smoking came up. Obama’s old habit was widely publicized earlier in the campaign race and he told Matthews he “fell off the wagon” a couple times while trying to quit.

“I fell off the wagon a couple times during the course of it, and then was able to get back on. But it is a struggle like everything else,” he told Matthews and the West Chester University audience. “And I think that it is important to just keep in mind, I have a nine-year-old daughter and a six-year-old daughter.”

The moment of personal disclosure continued briefly and then turned to the importance of health care and prevention.

“And I want to give them away in their weddings and I want to see my grand kids, and I want to set a good example for all these young people here, and I want to make sure as president of the United States, everybody knows that I’m going to try to stay healthy,” he added.

Sticking with his message of “Yes We Can,” Obama then issued a challenge to those in attendance.

“I need you guys to stay healthy, too, because we need to bring our health care costs down.”

During the course of the interview, which was set up like a town hall meeting, students got a chance to ask the Illinois senator questions.

Topics discussed included gay marriage (“I’m not in favor of gay marriage but I’m in favor of a very strong civil union.”), and federal funding for college students (“I want to expand Pell Grants… we need more grants than student loans.”).

In other Obama news, his campaign announced that $40 million was raised for the month of March.

Watch the entire interview here: