Sonora, CA — The son of tobacco magnate R.J. Reynolds spent his Monday in Tuolumne County preaching his tobacco free lifestyle to students and adults alike.
Reynolds spoke at Summerville High School in the morning, to adults at the Sonora Opera Hall at noon and to the Sonora High student body at 1:15.
It might seem a bit strange that a relative of R.J. Reynolds (Camel/Winston) would preach the tobacco free lifestyle but Patrick Reynolds decided to take this stand when he watched his father, R.J. Reynolds, Jr., gasping for air as he lay dying from a tobacco induced illness. Reynolds also lost an older brother to a tobacco related illness. He admits that at one time he, too, was a smoker.
Asked if he is considered the “black sheep” of the family for his turn against tobacco, Reynolds commented, “Some call me the black sheep, hey, I call myself the white sheep. I’m the guy waving the flag the tobacco industry is up to no good … smoking is bad for you. So I’m the white sheep of the Reynolds Family.”
Reynolds always opens his presentations with that story and then follows with a question for students, “How many of you are without your biological fathers? Are you angry … are you sad, are you afraid? That seems to always get their attention. I, myself, was angry when I lost my father at such a young age.”
Reynolds adds, “I tell them that nine out of 10 smokers start before the age of 19. That is why the tobacco industry continually targets the youth of America.”
Reynolds recently was invited to speak in Greece. Now he says he would like to visit Russia and India to deliver his tobacco free message.
Click THE FOUNDATION FOR A SMOKEFREE AMERICA for additional information.
Reynolds’ visit to Tuolumne County was sponsored by Sonora Regional Medical Center.
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