"I was given a second chance to live," says Mariano, who is Hispanic and lives in Illinois. He started smoking at 15. In 2004, Mariano woke up one morning feeling sick and dizzy. He was sweating a lot. He went to the doctor, who told him his blood pressure was extremely high. He was hospitalized that day. Three days later, he had open heart surgery to replace blocked blood vessels in his heart. "I smoked my last cigarette the day I was told I needed heart surgery." He hasn't smoked since.
After his hospitalization, Mariano, who loves to cook, noticed that food tasted better and that he had more energy. "I had a wake-up call, and now I feel good." He plans to keep it that way.
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