Disinherited Tobacco Heir to Speak Out Against Family Industry Thursday, Nov. 11 at Centenary College

Contact: Lynn Stewart, Centenary News Service, 318-869-5120

SHREVEPORT, LA -- Centenary College will present the disinherited grandson of tobacco company founder R. J. Reynolds in two programs about "Tobacco Wars" on Thursday, Nov. 11 in Brown Memorial Chapel.

Patrick Reynolds, one of the nation's most influential advocates of a smoke-free America, will deliver remarks aimed at students from 11 a.m. to noon, and at the general public from 7 to 8 p.m. Both programs are free and open to the public as a service of the college's Convocations Committee.

Reynolds is a vehement anti-smoking activist who has made a career of fighting cigarette companies. Himself a former smoker, he testified in Congress in favor of an end to all cigarette advertising and helped bring about the present six-hour smoking ban on U.S. domestic flights.

Since starting his campaign in 1986, Reynolds has spoken before numerous state and municipal legislatures in support of proposed smoking ordinances that became law. In 1988 in California, he helped pass the 25-cent-per-pack state cigarette tax increase. He has also lobbied Congress about the need to limit the export and advertising of U.S. tobacco brands abroad, and has worked in favor of a new law banning cigarette sales to those under 21.

In hundreds of television, radio and print interviews, he has helped remind millions of people of the dangers of smoking.

Reynolds saw his father, oldest brother and other relatives die from cigarette-induced emphysema and lung cancer. Concerned about the mounting health evidence against tobacco, he turned his back on his family's tobacco business. In 1989 in Los Angeles, he founded The Foundation for a Smokefree America, a nonprofit, charitable organization whose mission is to help bring about a smoke-free society.

In 1988, the United Nation's World Health Organization honored him with a special award. The following year, Chicago's Mt. Sinai Hospital awarded him its Humanitarian of the Year award. Also in 1989, Little, Brown published a colorful family biography, The Gilded Leaf, co-authored by Patrick Reynolds.

Recently, he has devoted a greater amount of his attention to educating youth about tobacco, and in 1999 he produced a new education video for ages 11-14, Straight Talk about Tobacco.

Reynolds will speak, show overhead transparencies, and answer questions during his presentations. For further information, contact Centenary at 318-869-5120.

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