President Ronald Reagan was a smoker who quit, allegedly after his brother developed voice box cancer. Smoking cessation can be one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease. But did you know how Ronald Reagan quit smoking?
Ronald Reagan began eating Jelly Belly jellybeans to help him quit smoking and continued to do so throughout his presidency, having more than 300,000 jellybeans shipped to the White House each month.
Who was President Ronald Reagan?
Ronald Reagan began his career in showbiz, appearing in over 50 films. He met his future wife, Nancy Davis Reagan while working as Hollywood’s president of the Screen Actors Guild. He later served as governor of California for two terms. Originally a liberal Democrat, Reagan ran for President of the United States as a Republican and won two terms in 1980, eventually becoming a conservative icon.
President Ronald Reagan was instrumental in redefining the purpose of government and putting pressure on the Soviet Union to end the Cold War. He helped to cement the conservative agenda for decades after he left office. Reagan died on June 5, 2004, after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease in his later years. (Source: Biography)
Reagan and His Jelly Bean Cure
According to Reagan Library archives, when Ronald Reagan ran for Governor of California in 1966, he began eating jelly beans made by the Oakland-based Herman Goelitz Candy Company. Why? To stop smoking pipes. It was successful.
Throughout his two terms, he received Goelitz Mini Jelly Beans from the company. Then he continued to receive shipments from Goelitz, which had launched a new brand, Jelly Belly, in 1976.
Then, for Reagan’s Presidential Inauguration in 1981, 3 1/2 tons of red (Very Cherry), white (Coconut), and blue (Blueberry) Jelly Belly jelly beans were shipped.
And the Jelly Belly jelly bean brigade persisted throughout Reagan’s eight-year presidency. Licorice was his favorite Jelly Belly flavor. And, as many of you are aware, the Reagan Library houses an image of Reagan entirely made of Jelly Belly jelly beans. This work of art required approximately 10,000 of them to complete.
You can tell a lot about a fella’s character by whether he picks out all of one color or just grabs a handful.– Ronald Reagan, Former US President
Ronald Reagan’s Governorship Bid
Reagan rose to national prominence in 1964 when he delivered a well-received televised speech for Republican presidential candidate and prominent conservative Barry Goldwater. Reagan won the California governorship two years later in his first race for public office, defeating Democratic incumbent Edmund Pat Brown Sr. by nearly one million votes. In 1970, he was re-elected for a second term. (Source: Biography)
Ronald Reagan’s Presidential Bid
Reagan received the Republican presidential nomination for the first time in 1980 after unsuccessful bids in 1968 and 1976. He defeated Democrat incumbent President Jimmy Carter in the general election that year, winning the electoral college of 489 to 49 and nearly 51% of the popular vote. Reagan was the oldest person elected to the presidency of the United States at the time, at the age of 69. (Source: Biography)
Image from Britannica