Roosevelt’s Story

Like many smokers, Roosevelt started experimenting with cigarettes in his teens. But his addiction became entrenched during his time in the military. Nearly 30 years later, damage from smoking began to take its toll.

At 45, Roosevelt experienced a heart attack that landed him in the hospital for a month. In order to repair the damage to his heart caused by smoking, doctors inserted stents into his heart. When that wasn’t enough, he had bypass surgery — six bypasses in all. Now 51, Roosevelt has been smoke-free for 3 years, but he’s had to give up his career as a commercial plumber because his heart no longer is strong enough for the strenuous activity such work requires.

Roosevelt’s Videos


Roosevelt is a former smoker who had a heart attack and six bypasses as a result of damage to his heart caused by smoking. In these commercials and extended videos, Roosevelt tells his story.

Roosevelt’s Tip Ad
Roosevelt never thought that at 45-years-old he would have a heart attack due to his smoking. In this TV ad, from CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers® campaign, he talks about the impact his smoking-related heart attack has had on his life.
Roosevelt: “Stop Believing That Lie”
Roosevelt talks about how hard it is to quit smoking, and that people often lie to themselves about the effects of smoking cigarettes. He emphasizes that it’s important to try to stop smoking, both for yourself and for your loved ones. This video is part of CDC’s campaign, Tips From Former Smokers®.
Roosevelt’s Story
Roosevelt, who had a heart attack and six artery bypasses as a result of smoking, tells how his health problems prevent him from being active with his children in this video from CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers® campaign.
Roosevelt: “It’s Hard to Quit”
Even when the effects of smoking stare you in the face, it can be hard to stop smoking. Roosevelt talks about how difficult it was for him to quit smoking cigarettes even after having heart bypass surgery. This video is part of CDC’s campaign, Tips From Former Smokers®.
Roosevelt: “Younger Smokers Think They Aren't Addicted”
Roosevelt tried to stop smoking cigarettes many times before he succeeded. He talks about smokers who try to fool themselves about their addiction, even though most of them want to quit smoking. This video is part of CDC’s campaign, Tips From Former Smokers®.

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Roosevelt’s Biography


Like many smokers, Roosevelt started experimenting with cigarettes in his teens. But his addiction became entrenched during his time in the military. Nearly 30 years later, damage from smoking began to take its toll. At 45, Roosevelt experienced a heart attack that landed him in the hospital for a month. In order to repair the damage to his heart caused by smoking, doctors inserted stents into his heart. When that wasn’t enough, he had bypass surgery — six bypasses in all.

Roosevelt

“A heart attack feels like a hand inside squeezing your heart,” he says. “It’s like the worst charley horse you can imagine — in your heart.” Roosevelt found cigarettes to be so addictive that even after his surgery he continued to smoke — but he noticed an ominous difference.

“After my heart attack, when I smoked I could feel the damage right to my heart,” he says. “With all that scar tissue, I could feel pain when I inhaled smoke. I quit smoking because I didn’t want to kill myself.”

Now 51, Roosevelt has been smoke-free for 3 years, but he’s had to give up his career as a commercial plumber because his heart no longer is strong enough for the strenuous activity such work requires. He says the love, support — and constant nagging — of his family was the key to him being able to quit smoking.

“If you have loved ones who care about you, they will support you. Take it one day at a time,” Roosevelt says. “But if you smoke and want to see your kids graduate and want to see your grandkids someday, stop smoking.”

Roosevelt hopes his participation in the Tips From Former Smokers® campaign can help save lives. “I wish I never smoked,” he says. “Everybody thinks [health problems] won’t happen to them, but they happen to so many people. You could be next.”

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