Tobacco heir is outspoken against habit

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Patrick Reynolds calls himself the "white sheep" of the famed tobacco family.

The grandson of tobacco magnate R.J. Reynolds is now a well-known anti-smoking crusader who works on smoke-free ordinances and cigarette tax increases across the country as a way of helping to undo some of the damage the family has done. He will be in Augusta on Thursday -- Great American Smokeout Day -- to help University Hospital kick off its tobacco-free campus.

Mr. Reynolds, 53, sold his company stock in 1979 and first came to prominence in 1986 when he testified in Congress for a total ban on tobacco advertising.

"That pretty well catapulted me into the headlines," he said. "I didn't realize it would be quite that strong a reaction around the nation. I was besieged with requests for news interviews and to speak. And I began to answer the call."

What followed was years of work, first on partial bans in bars and restaurants and airplanes, and now smoke-free states.

During the 2006 election, Mr. Reynolds found himself squaring off against the company in Ohio over a pair of ballot measures. One, backed by the American Lung Association and for which Mr. Reynolds did a statewide tour, would have banned smoking in most public places, such as bars and restaurants. The other, backed by R.J. Reynolds, would have trumped it with a number of exemptions. The latter measure ultimately failed.

Of the more than 24 states and territories that have banned smoking in public places, all but two of them have done so in the past six years, Mr. Reynolds said.

"It really is an idea whose time has come," he said. "We're seeing a real tidal wave of states passing laws."

More opportunities await in helping to curb smoking by raising cigarette taxes, an option Mr. Reynolds calls a "win-win-win."

"They're politically very popular," he said. "They bring in revenue. And they are a win because they give smokers a very strong financial incentive to quit."

Higher taxesalso discourage kids from starting, he said.

Mr. Reynolds' status as a member of a famous tobacco family gives his anti-smoking message some resonance, said Cheryl Wheeler, who conducts the smoking cessation classes at University and is coordinator for the cancer registry.

"He can speak to it on a personal basis," she said.

Mr. Reynolds was inspired to speak out against smoking after watching it claim his father, R.J. Reynolds Jr.

"They say you find your calling sometimes in your deepest wound," Mr. Reynolds said.

But before he went public, he talked to his brothers.

"We had some pretty heated arguments about it," Mr. Reynolds said. "They were concerned that I would be an embarrassment to the family, and that the price of the stock that they held in R.J. Reynolds would go down. They were wrong on both counts."

If anything, he said, "I think I helped to bring honor to the Reynolds family. Someone in our family is on the right side, for a change."

Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or tom.corwin@augustachronicle.com.

GREAT AMERICAN SMOKEOUT


Thursday is the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout, when smokers are asked to quit for at least the day in hopes they will work toward quitting for good.
University Hospital is also launching its tobacco-free campus initiative Thursday, banning all smoking and tobacco products from the hospital and its grounds. Patrick Reynolds of the R.J.

Reynolds tobacco family, now a prominent anti-smoking crusader, will help kick off the initiative.


The public can hear Mr. Reynolds speak at a dinner event at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Belair Conference Center, 4081 Jimmie Dyess Parkway. The event is free, but reservations are required. Call (706) 828-2502 or (866) 591-2502.

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MtnMan
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MtnMan 11/16/08 - 06:00 am
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The day Bush leaves The White

The day Bush leaves The White House will mark my 8th Birthday...Tobacco free birthday that is! I can't say it extends my life...only one knows that and He isn't telling. ha Foods don't taste better, that's ok too. The thing I really, really miss is that morning cup of coffee. Lost my taste for coffee! Gained twenty pounds, but I would rather be fat than be a smoker!

politicallyNcorrect1
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politicallyNcorrect1 11/16/08 - 07:10 am
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Well Obama smokes & everybody

Well Obama smokes & everybody else whines & whines. Do yall think your going to get out of this world alive? Everyone dies. I did not start smoking till I was 49 NO I did not smoke as a teenager. I started at 49 & I'm going to keep smoking. If I die from it? Thats my choice. Hold on a minute, I've got to light a cigarette & get a refill on my coffee. MtnMan...you are right. That first cigarette with a good hot cup of coffee uuum-uuum whew..thats good & actually that first 6 cigarettes in the morning are GREAT!.Well yall get on with your day, I ve got some coffee to drink & some cigarettes to smoke. Oh, you can keep on raising the price because I'm going to keep on buying them...lol

politicallyNcorrect1
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politicallyNcorrect1 11/16/08 - 07:14 am
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EXCUSE ME...I didn't mean to

EXCUSE ME...I didn't mean to start this post. I pushed the wrong key...I couldn't see for the cigarette smoke in my eyes,,,,lol..LMAO

HTN007
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HTN007 11/16/08 - 08:06 am
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Would Mr Reynolds be

Would Mr Reynolds be interested in a federal cigarette tax for extending medicaid level benefits to the 50 million currently uninsured working poor? If so, he can contact me and I will help him do it.

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 11/16/08 - 08:21 am
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The tobacco addicted are very

The tobacco addicted are very funny, especially to themselves.

HYPOCRITES 08
7
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HYPOCRITES 08 11/16/08 - 08:44 am
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What does Obama have to do

What does Obama have to do with this subject?

disssman
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disssman 11/16/08 - 10:34 am
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What gets me is the hundreds

What gets me is the hundreds of thousands of tons of chemicals dumped in the Augusta air, every year and University says nothing! Or the carpeting throughout the hospital that is a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses and University says nothing! Oh and I almost forgot the parties with alcohol that the doctors attend on a regular basis, but drinking couldn't be bad for you or they wouldn't be doing it, would they?

Farful
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Farful 11/16/08 - 10:51 am
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Let me get this

Let me get this straight.....Reynolds flits around on his anti-smoking crusade while being supported by the industry that he lobbys against ?

The Knave
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The Knave 11/16/08 - 11:16 am
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Behind every great fortune is

Behind every great fortune is a great crime. In this case, the crime is selling a product that kills lots of people and pushes the cost of their pre-mortem care onto non-smokers. The fortune belongs, of course, to the Reynolds family members (aka, leeches). Mr. Patrick Reynolds' claimed convictions would be more convincing if he were to contribute a substantial portion of his ill-gotten, unearned gains to anti-tobacco causes. And, "politicallyincorrect," dare I say, you are a moron. I will resent every moment that you will surely spend in an oncology ward, gasping for breath and spitting up all manner of obnoxious fluids. I will resent it, because I will be compelled to subsidize your visit through the insurance premiums and taxes that I pay.

jlhs32
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jlhs32 11/16/08 - 01:17 pm
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Sometimes it's best to keep

Sometimes it's best to keep it simple. Smoking is bad for your health. If you quit, your health will be better. If you want to quit, you CAN quit smoking. Talk to your health care provider when you're ready to stop. 1-800-quitnow.

pgapeach2
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pgapeach2 11/16/08 - 06:58 pm
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MtnMan, you can have that cup

MtnMan, you can have that cup of coffee every morning I do. Feb 21, 2009 will be three years since I quit smoking. I could not have a cup of coffee without having a cigarette now it doesn't bother me at all. I do all the things that I did as a smoker I do them as a nonsmoker. I saw how the chemotherapy and radiation treatments affected my mother. I decided I did not want that to be me. So, on 21 Feb 2006, while deployed to Iraq I quit. I figured if I could quit under those circumstances then I could quit for the rest of my life. So I say if you want that morning cup of coffee, have it. Beat smoking don't let it beat you.

PatrickReynolds
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PatrickReynolds 11/16/08 - 09:41 pm
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I'm Patrick Reynolds, and am

I'm Patrick Reynolds, and am looking forward to helping University Hospital launch its new smokefree campus policy on Thursday. The hospital has shown courage, vision and leadership in the community.

In response to some readers who posted comments that I'm living off tobacco industry money while attacking it, I want them to know that I'm proud to have given over half my inheritance to fighting the cause.

The rest of my funds I use to fuel my campaign for a smokefree society; I founded the Foundation for a Smokefree America (www.anti-smoking.org).

The focus of the Great American Smokeout is quitting smoking. Even if you've already quit, please see our free quitting tips at www.anti-smoking.org/quitting.htm. Reading the section titled Phase Two can prevent a relapse.

Whether you agree or disagree, I'd be pleased if you will join me at University Hospital's dinner event at 6 p.m. Thursday, and make your voice heard during the Q&A following the talk. Here's the info:

Great American Smokeout Day
6pm, Thursday, November 20
Belair Conference Center
4081 Jimmie Dyess Parkway

The event is free, but reservations are required.
Call (706) 828-2502 or (866) 591-2502

FedupwithAUG
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FedupwithAUG 11/17/08 - 12:10 am
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What about the millions of

What about the millions of FAT americans? Something should be done about them. They are costing the taxpayers a hell of alot more then the smokers do.
That's great Patrick, would love to know your fee to attend this event.

disssman
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disssman 11/17/08 - 08:30 am
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I wonder if the black sludge

I wonder if the black sludge on my swimming pool is caused by second hand smooke or the chemical factories? Really folks you are all so eaten up with P.C. you don't see the fire for the flames! Just a 2 questions for University. What are you doing about the chemical emissions and when are you going to remove the carpeting ( a known breeding ground for diseases) that is never properly cleaned in the hospital? Think about it folks when you go to the hospital how many sick kids do you see playing on the floor, and guess what, well kids come in right after and play on that same floor! But you never see the floor being scrubbed with a disinfectant. In fact you rarely see a cleaning person!

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