Patrick Reynolds, founder and executive director of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free America, will speak on the East Central University campus on Thursday, Aug. 30, at 7 p.m.
The event, which is hosted by the STOP Coalition (Stomp Tobacco Outta Pontotoc County) in conjunction with the ECU-Brandon Whitten Institute, will be held at the Estep Multimedia Center, located in the Bill S. Cole University Center.
Reynolds, the grandson of tobacco titan R.J. Reynolds, has been an acclaimed speaker who motivates, inspires, entertains and educates youth toward a smoke-free society.
Patrick saw 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, in 1986 Patrick made the decision to speak out against the industry his family helped build.
He will tell his personal story of crossing over to fight for the other side, and then provide an update on the state of Oklahoma’s battle against smoking and what needs to be done now. Reynolds will compare Oklahoma to the rest of the nation in four areas: the state’s smoking law, tobacco tax, and its spending on tobacco prevention and cessation. He’ll close with his vision of the future and the coming tobacco-free society.
Reynolds’ talks have made extreme connections with audience members, making them laugh and cry. His motivational speaking has been known to connect with his audience’s deeper emotions and captivate the attention of students.
He will start his presentation by telling the audience the story of his father’s death from smoking. He will emphasize the addictiveness of tobacco and show slides showing how the tobacco industry has targeted youth. He’ll also tell the touching story of high school track star Sean Marsee, who died at 19 from chewing tobacco, showing before and after photos.
Reynolds will deliver a message of hope, which concludes, “Hold on to your health – you’ll need it in the incredible, amazing years ahead of us all.”
He will then close with the promise and vision of the coming smoke-free society.
For more information on Reynolds’ appearance, call 580-559-5815.