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Article published Jan 9, 2008
‘Get Healthy Cenla’ initiative launches on Wednesday; tobacco-company founder's grandson is featured speaker
The kickoff of the “Get Healthy Cenla” initiative is set for 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9, in the Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center, 1202 Third St., Alexandria.

Patrick Reynolds, the grandson of tobacco-company founder R.J. Reynolds, will be the keynote speaker. He will emphasize the dangers of tobacco use.

Reynolds will speak on “Tobacco Wars: The Battle for a Smoke-Free America.”

Reservations for the event are encouraged by either e-mail to events@rapidesfoundation.org or by phone at 1-800-994-3394 or (318) 443-3394.

“We are honored to have Patrick Reynolds bring his unique perspective to Central Louisiana,” said Joe Rosier, president and CEO of The Rapides Foundation, which is sponsoring the initiative.

“He knows firsthand about the dangers of smoking and tobacco use, and he also knows the lengths that the tobacco industry has gone to keep people buying their product.”

Reynolds first spoke out against the tobacco industry in 1986 after watching his father and brother die from cigarette-induced emphysema and lung cancer.

In 2003, former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop called Reynolds “one of the nation's most influential advocates of a smoke-free America. His testimony is invaluable to our society.”

“Get Healthy Cenla” focuses on tobacco, diet and physical activity. Wednesday’s event will introduce the foundation’s multimillion dollar investment in tobacco-prevention and tobacco-control efforts. The diet and physical activity components will be introduced later.

According to The Rapides Foundation, 50.9 percent of Central Louisiana smokers tried to quit smoking at least once in the past year. Nationally, about 57.9 percent of smokers tried to quit.

For more information on the foundation, visit http://www.rapidesfoundation.org/. For more information on Get Healthy Cenla, visit http://www.gethealthycenla.org/.

Schedule of Community Forums

Here is the schedule of community forums for “Get Healthy Cenla:”

Tuesday, Jan. 15, 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m., Rapides Parish Community Forum, Sai Convention Center (formerly the Louisiana Convention Center), 2301 North MacArthur Drive, Alexandria

Wednesday, Jan. 16, 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m., Allen Parish Community Forum, Allen Parish Civic Center, 609 Tiger Lane, Oberlin

Wednesday, Jan. 16, 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m., Allen Parish Community Forum, Grumpy's Catfish Kitchen, 108 South Ninth St., Oakdale

Thursday, Jan. 17, 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m., Grant Parish Community Forum, Colfax Banking Company Community Room, 625 Eighth St., Colfax

Wednesday, Jan. 23, 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m., Natchitoches Parish Community Forum, Natchitoches Regional Medical Center, Community Conference Room, 501 Keyser Avenue, Natchitoches

Thursday, Jan. 24, 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m., Avoyelles Parish Community Forum, Bunkie Civic Center, 200 Walnut St., Bunkie

Thursday, Jan. 24, 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m., Avoyelles Parish Community Forum, Avoyelles Parish School Board Office Board Room, 221 Tunica Drive West, Marksville

Wednesday, Jan. 30, 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m., Catahoula Parish Community Forum, Catahoula Parish Library, 300 Bushly St., Harrisonburg

Wednesday, Jan. 30, 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m., Catahoula Parish Community Forum, Jackie's Riverside Restaurant, 1530 Fourth St., Jonesville

Thursday, Jan. 31, 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m., LaSalle Parish Community Forum, LaSalle General Hospital Cafeteria, 187 Ninth St., Jena

Thursday, Feb. 7, 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m., Vernon Parish Community Forum, Holiday Inn Express Freedom Room, 3032 Colony Boulevard, Leesville

Tuesday, Feb. 12, 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m., Winn Parish Community Forum, Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame, 499 East Main St., Winnfield

Thursday, Feb. 14, 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m., Rapides Parish Community Forum, Sai Convention Center (formerly the Louisiana Convention Center), 2301 North MacArthur Drive, Alexandria