More detailed info is posted at
Preview video clips at www.Tobaccofree.org/clips.htm
View video clip 6, Initiation into Life
Reynolds opens by telling the touching story of his father’s
death, caused by smoking Reynolds brands, when Patrick was 15.
In an informal revival of the ancient, near-universally practiced
tradition, Mr. Reynolds initiates students into life. During the
talk, he opens students’ eyes to some of the darkness in the
world, such as tobacco companies marketing to youth, and the influence
of the tobacco industry over our government. Toward the end, he
adds, "Life will sometimes be painful -- it's designed to be
that way. It's by our struggles against adversity that we gather
strength. It's by staying with the difficulty that we resolve the
problem -- not by escaping into one or more of our national addictions,
like cigarettes, food, alcohol, drugs, TV, music, or work. Stay
with the problem, talk about it to others, take a step to solve
it -- and move on." The initiation concludes by welcoming students
into the world of adults.
WE WON AND LOST AGAINST BIG TOBACCO Our greatest
progress has come from local governments, which have passed hundreds
of 100% smoking bans, vending machine bans and sales-to-minors compliance
checks. And the Judicial Branch of government won a settlement of
$246 billion from the States' lawsuits.
But for three
decades, Congress has done almost nothing to regulate Big Tobacco.
And few State Legislatures have passed 100% Statewide smoking bans,
as California did. Only five states have met the CDC’s minimum
recommended amount for an effective youth tobacco prevention campaign,
to duplicate Florida’s incredible 47% reduction in middle
school smoking. The initiation theme recurs here: there is some
darkness in the world.
FINANCE REFORM For more than thirty years, Congress
has passed not one bill making it harder for children to purchase
cigarettes, no law to limit cigarette advertising, no substantial
increase in the Federal tobacco tax, and no Federal workplace smoking
the primary reason for Congress' stunning leniency on Big Tobacco
has been our system of campaign finance," says Reynolds. He
points out, "The large corporations have amassed truly awesome
power over our government. Indeed, there is darkness in the world.
Opponents of campaign finance reform within
in April, 2002 to undo the bill, on the grounds that it violates
Freedom of Speech. The case will be decided by the Supreme Court.
The fight to reign in the political influence of the tobacco industry
hangs in the balance, as does the public mandate to bring other
excessively powerful special interests to heel."
OF SPEECH Should the First Amendment continue to
protect tobacco advertising? Should the Supreme Court undo recently
passed Campaign Finance Reform, as a violation of free speech? Mr.
Reynolds argues no on both, and students are invited to challenge
him in the Q & A session.
FROM THE HEART
In this fun section, Mr. Reynolds requests a volunteer from the
audience, and asks them to rehearse expressing their feelings to
a loved one, asking them to quit or not smoke in the house. He offers
a simple but persuasive formula for saying no. Students learn to
be more in touch with their emotions, to speak about their feelings,
and become more effective communicators. Throughout his talk, as
he discusses smoking by stars in movies, and tobacco advertising
that targets women, teens, blacks, and impoverished Third World
peoples, he asks, “How do you feel about that? I feel angry
and sad. . .”
TARGETING YOUTH and women, African-Americans, Asians,
Latinos, and uneducated peoples in the Third World. Mr. Reynolds
opens students' eyes to the truth about tobacco advertising. At
one point he asks, “How many of you know that when you go
in a convenience store, the store is getting paid up to $100 per
month per display to keep its tobacco displays in full view?”
Nearly no hands go up. “As a child, you probably assumed the
store put the display on countertops because tobacco is a normal,
acceptable American product. They’re at child eye level, often
placed next to the candy, and because they face away from the cashier,
it’s often far too easy for kids to shoplift. The tobacco
industry increased their advertising from $5 billion to $8 billion
in 2000, and much of that is spent on countertop displays. How do
you feel about that?
SEAN MARSEE STORY
Sean Marsee at age 17
At age 19,
just prior to his death
courtesy of The American Cancer Society and the Marsee family
In a compelling
and dramatic section of his talk, Mr. Reynolds tells the tragic
story of Sean Marsee, and shows heartbreaking before and after photos
of the high school track star. Sean died disfigured, sad and in
pain at age 19, from mouth cancer caused by chewing tobacco. It
is a powerful part of his talk.
LAWSUITS Many people feel smokers should be accountable
for the disease they bring on themselves by continuing to smoke.
“Yes, of course smokers should be accountable,” Reynolds
responds. “But does that mean we should let the tobacco industry
go unaccountable for their portion of the responsibility? For years,
they claimed publicly, 'It's never been proven that cigarettes cause
disease.' The CEOs denied under oath that nicotine was addictive,
when they knew it was. If a corporation knows its products are dangerous,
but hides, dissembles, stonewalls and denies, as they did, then
they must pay the damages for their share in the problem.
IS MY PERSONAL CHOICE As to the choice to smoke,
eighty to ninety percent of US smokers became addicted before reaching
age 19, and this product is as addicting as heroin. It's our children
who made the choice to smoke. The truth is, once they are addicted,
there is far less choice involved. And the first step in overcoming
any addiction is to admit you have one, so don’t buy their
tobacco industry spin.
11th At talks since 9/11/01, Mr Reynolds has
asked numerous audiences from age 9 to 24, “After September
11th, how many of you are worried about the future?” A susbstantial
percentage of the students have raised their hands. To counteract
the recent upsurge in anxiety among students, Mr. Reynolds offers
a message of hope for the future. He concludes his presentation
with an inspiring five minute section, in which he shares his own
strong faith that everything will be okay. At the finish, he urges
students, "Hold on to your health, for the incredible future
that’s coming. Don't smoke, and don't use drugs, because you'll
need your health, every bit of it, in the amazing and wondrous years
ahead!" Mr. Reynolds closes his talk with the promise of the
coming tobaccofree society. "It's coming because of you,"
he says. "You are the future."
& A SESSION
And if desired, a reception following.
About Patrick Reynolds
Additional talk at a high school Passing local laws
Poster to help promote the talk on campus
from past clients
points when calling sponsors
information package (printer friendly)
of live talks