Tobacco heir fights against
By Zach Wesley - Journal
POCATELLO - Patrick Reynolds has
spent much of the last two decades speaking out against the
industry that brought his family a massive fortune and public
His grandfather, R.J. Reynolds, was
a founder of the tobacco company that produces popular
cigarette brands Camel and Winston. But after the deaths of
his father and eldest brother to smoking-related illnesses,
Patrick Reynolds turned against the family
Reynolds said he sold his stock in
the company in 1979 and has never looked back.
He will be telling his family's
story and delivering an anti-smoking message at Idaho State
University on Wednesday. Reynolds' appearance is sponsored by
the ISU Program Board, the ISU Wellness Center and Southeast
District Health Department.
"The talk is part education, part
motivation and hopefully part entertaining," Reynolds
Reynolds founded the nonprofit
group Foundation for a Smokefree America in 1989. The
foundation operates the anti-smoking Web sites
www.tobaccofree.org and www.notobacco.org. Reynolds said the
group is funded primarily from his public speaking engagements
- like the event at ISU - at middle schools, high schools and
"My dad died from smoking and the
two things went together," Reynolds said. "I got more and more
involved and made it a career."
The tobacco industry first heard
from Reynolds in the 1980s. He said he has testified before
Congress, lobbied to raise tobacco taxes and worked to ban
cigarette vending machines.
However, Reynolds does not believe
the tobacco industry is the only party responsible for the ill
effects of smoking. He believes smokers share the
What he does blame the tobacco
industry for are youth-oriented marketing campaigns. He cites
a study stating that from 1988 to 1998 youth smoking increased
73 percent. He said cigarette ads featuring Joe Camel and the
Marlboro Man were part of the tobacco industry's plan to
market directly to young people.
Many of Reynolds' speaking
engagements are at middle and high schools, and he said he
initiates the audience into adulthood by having them promise
to be smoke-free.
"It helps motivate the young people
to stay smoke free," Reynolds said.
At ISU, Reynolds said he will speak
out against the tobacco industry, but also plans to motivate
the audience to remain smoke-free as well as instruct the
audience on helping parents and friends who smoke to
Reynolds will also share the story
of Sean Marsee, who died at age 19 from the effects of chewing
tobacco. Reynolds will show before-and-after photos of
Marsee's disfigured face from chewing tobacco use.
When and where
- Who: Patrick Reynolds "The Truth
Behind BIG Tobacco."
- When: Wednesday, 7
- Where: Ballroom of the Student
- Cost: Free for students, $3 for
faculty/staff and $5 for the general public.