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Laura Bush: "That's Right. I Used To Smoke. Uh-Huh. Uh-Huh"

BLITZER: The first lady, Laura Bush, is trying to today to get the message out that heart disease is the number-one killer of women in the United States. She took her campaign to George Washington University Hospital.

And CNN's top doctor went along with her.

And joining us now, our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

You were over at the White House today, Sanjay, speaking with the first lady. Women and heart disease, this is a huge, huge issue. And smoking is clearly a cause of a lot of these problems, heart disease, smoking. You spoke to her about that. What did she say?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, I wanted to get right to it, because there's been a lot of rumors about whether she was a smoker and whether she still is a smoker. I decided to just ask her. This is what she said.


GUPTA: Were you a smoker at one time?


LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY: That's right. I used to smoke. Uh-huh. Uh-huh.

GUPTA: Do you smoke anymore?

L. BUSH: No, I don't smoke anymore.

GUPTA: How did you quit?

L. BUSH: Well, it was very hard to quit. And smoking is very difficult to quit.

And I want to encourage people to not pick it up. It's very difficult to quit. And one of the good ways, I think, one of the easier ways to quit is the way the president did, when he smoked, which is when he was back in graduate school. And that was, he took up running. And I think, once you get up and exercise, smoking becomes counterproductive...



L. BUSH: ... and that it's easier to quit.


GUPTA: So,. she says she's no longer a smoker, period, paragraph. There was a lot of rumors about whether she might still be. But she doesn't.

And she said the president, by running, actually, because, I guess, he just had shortness of breath, stopped smoking as well.

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