Tifton Gazette

Local News

March 19, 2013

Reddick students hear of dangers of tobacco use

TIFTON — Students at J.T. Reddick School heard from Patrick Reynolds, the grandson of tobacco company founder R.J. Reynolds, Tuesday morning about the dangers of tobacco use.

Reynolds is an outspoken opponent of Big Tobacco. He is also executive director of the nonprofit, The Foundation for a Smokefree America, which he founded in 1989. Its mission is to motivate youth to stay tobacco free and to empower smokers to quit successfully.

Reynolds watched his father, R.J. Reynolds Jr., his oldest brother, R.J. Reynolds III, and other members of his family die from cigarette-induced emphysema and lung cancer. Concerned about the mounting health evidence, he made the decision to speak out against the industry his family helped build. He has spoken to well over 100,000 students live and over million have seen his educational video, “The Truth About Tobacco” — the 2011 edition is available at www.tobaccofree.org.

J.T. Reddick student Haley Alexander, student council president, introduced Reynolds to the crowd. During his presentation, Reynolds talked about his parents getting divorced when he was three years old. He said he was not ready to see his father again until six years later, when he was nine.

He asked the room full of students seated on the gymnasium floor if any of them had to go home without a biological father being there.

“I wondered where my father was,” he said.

He said children need a father around to say, “I love you” and offer words of encouragement and love. Without his father around, Reynolds said he felt sad and sometimes afraid.

Reynolds said when he was nine years old, he wrote his father a letter, which was forwarded seven times. When he finally had the opportunity to meet him in person, he found his father lying down, frail and sick. He said his father told him he had asthma, but it really turned out to be emphysema. His father died when Reynolds was 15 years old.

“You find your calling where you’ve been hurt the most deeply — I lost my father to smoking,” he said. “That’s where I found my calling. I’ll do this for the rest of my life.”

Reynolds also warned about second-hand smoke. With a screen projected behind him as he spoke, he showed the students several tobacco and cigarette advertisements, some featuring celebrities, that are made to appeal to young people. He said this is unethical, but it’s freedom of speech. He said the creators of the ads have to find ways to get people to buy.

He added, “Smoking in movies is a betrayal to our kids. (Celebrities who do) are not your friends.”

Reynolds showed them videos against tobacco use as well, including an ad that he did. He said the national average cigarette tax is $1.39 per pack when it’s only 37 cents per pack in Georgia.

“(Georgia) won’t raise it. Not all taxes are bad; the tobacco tax is good,” he said. “If I could leave you with just one thing today — cigarettes are addictive. Once you start, you cannot stop.”

Reynolds said one out of four 11-13 year olds get hooked on tobacco. He said it takes on average 17 years for a young person to stop smoking successfully.

He told the students, “Don’t let it happen to you. Smoking is on its way out. It’s so 20th century.”

He said, “You can kiss your entire future good-bye with drugs. It starts with cigarettes.”

Reynolds said six out of 10 smokers start by age 14, and nine out of every 10 smokers get addicted before reaching age 19, and suggested talking to a school counselor and connecting with other positive people.

“You’ll succeed so much in life,” he said.

Reynolds also said calling someone a fool for smoking is not effective; however, he said telling someone how you feel is.

As photos of baseball players showed on-screen behind him, he faced the students and said, “Chewing tobacco is just as addictive as smoking.” He then showed some shocking photos of the results of chewing tobacco, such as people with part of their jaw removed, etc.

Reynolds concluded his speech by telling a story about a young man named Sean Marsee who died at the age of 19 after becoming addicted to dipping tobacco. He showed a photo of Marsee and said he was a great track athlete, winning several high school medals. One day, Reynolds said, Marsee’s mother saw that he was using tobacco. After his mother advised  she hoped he would make a responsible decision about tobacco use, Marsee tried seeing the school counselor but couldn’t quit.

“It kills 40 percent of people who use it eventually,” Reynolds said.

He said Marsee found out that he had cancer and had to have his tongue cut out, part of his jaw removed and other surgeries after the cancer began to spread. Before he died, Marsee’s message to others were: “Don’t dip snuff.”

Reynolds advised the students to have a solid faith, hold on to their health and don’t smoke and don’t do drugs.

“Stay smoke-free. Stay drug-free,” he said. “I believe in you.”

Also, an anti-tobacco poster contest was held at J.T. Reddick. Carlos Romo, 12, was the winner. He won a pizza party for his homeroom class.

Reynolds also spoke to students at Ben Hill Middle School in Fitzgerald Tuesday afternoon. Returning to Tifton, he spoke that night at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center as well. Reynolds gave a free community lecture entitled “Tobacco Wars: The Battle for a Smokefree Society.” Tift Regional Medical Center and the TRMC Foundation sponsored these events. Someone with the foundation said by inviting Reynolds, they’re keeping with TRMC’s mission for a healthy community.

Today is Kick Butts Day, which is an annual celebration of youth leadership and activism in the fight against tobacco use, when youth across the country encourage their peers to stay tobacco-free and educate their communities about the dangers of tobacco.

To contact reporter Latasha Everson, call 382-4321.



 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • relay for life.jpg Relay for Life this Friday in Tifton

    At Relay for Life events, communities across the globe come together to honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost and fight back against a disease that has already taken too much, according to Relay for Life.
    The public can get involved locally by attending the Relay for Life of Tift County, which kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday at the E.B. Hamilton Complex and Optimist Park with the opening ceremony. A survivor reception will be held at 6 p.m. at the pavilion.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dewey Lee pic.tif Dewey Lee receives honor

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • disabled artists.tif Disabled artists exhibit begins May 1 at Georgia Museum of Agriculture

    Fifty works of art crafted by artisans with disabilities will be on display at the Gallery at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College beginning May 1.   Museum Assistant Director and Curator Polly Huff said the exhibit includes paintings, photographs, woodcarving, clay pottery, mosaics, textiles and other works.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Senior community looks to expand

    The senior community West Haven Senior Village is looking to expand. Joseph Carter with West Haven, along with Mandy Young with Affordable Equity Partners, did a brief presentation on the senior village at a recent City Council meeting.

    April 22, 2014

  • Stolen debit card returned

    Local law enforcement recently responded to several vehicle break-ins and damages and other incidents.

    April 21, 2014

  • Council disagrees on DDA borders

    At a recent city meeting, the City Council, with a 3-2 vote, approved the resolution providing the Downtown Development Authority amendment to boundaries, appointment of board members and for other purposes.
    Prior to voting, City Manager Larry Riner reminded the council that they had a couple of lengthy meetings regarding the boundaries of the DDA and the actual structure of the board itself. The council was provided with a boundary map, depicting the downtown development area.

    April 21, 2014

  • Employer seminar on labor laws to be held in Tifton

    The Tift Area HR/Employer Committee will sponsor a seminar on state and federal labor laws for employers. The seminar will be held May 16 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. at the Georgia Department of Labor’s Tifton Career Center, 310 South Tift Ave. Registration begins at 8 a.m.

    April 21, 2014

  • Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

    People who have accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the confounding Heartbleed Internet security flaw.

    April 21, 2014

  • MAIN ART_RELAY FOR LIFE.tif Relay for Live coming up soon

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • public safety awards.tif LEOs and first responders honored at banquet

    A room full of local law enforcement and first responders were honored Thursday night by the Tifton Elks Lodge at their annual Public Safety Officer Appreciation and Awards Banquet for their service in the community.
    Prior to the awards being given out, Louise Spradley, who organized the banquet, welcomed everyone, and the invocation and pledge were led by the Tift County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
House Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Seasonal Content
Business Marquee
Weather Radar
Video
SW Ga. Sacred Harp group at Folklife Festival in Tifton
Balloons released in Fitzgerald honoring fallen balloonist
Riding the Steam Train at Ga. Museum of Agriculture
Poll

Do you plan to watch any of the Republican National Convention?

Yes
No
     View Results
Poll

Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

No
Yes
     View Results
Poll

Do you plan to watch any of the Republican National Convention?

Yes
No
     View Results
Poll

Do you plan to watch any of the Republican National Convention?

Yes
No
     View Results
Poll

Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

No
Yes
     View Results
Poll

Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

No
Yes
     View Results