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Tobacco heir Patrick Reynolds steps up anti-smoking campaign

The Survivors Club Staff
February 12, 2010

Patrick Reynolds, whose grandfather founded the cigarette company R.J. Reynolds, was a smoker for 10 years before quitting. He also lost numerous family members, including his father, oldest brother and aunt, to cigarette-induced emphysema, heart disease, and lung cancer.

Those dramatic experiences led him to not only quit for his own sake, but to become an outspoken anti-smoking activist in order to inspire others to fight tobacco addition.

As such, Reynolds, who serves as president of the Foundation for a Smokefree America, recently delivered a keynote speech at Saint Francis Hospital as part of HeartFest 2010, an annual event that includes free health information, physician lectures, a healthy cooking demonstration and free health screenings.

He also took on Gossip Girl star Taylor Momsen, who was spotted puffing on the New York set of the show, saying she has “an extra responsibility to bear as an actress idolized by little girls,” and that she “sends the wrong message to kids.”

The American Cancer Society says tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S., and that cigarette smoking accounts for about 443,000 deaths, including 49,400 in nonsmokers.

There are a number of methods individuals can use to help them quit, including nicotine patches, chewing gums and psychological counseling. In addition to that, an innovative anti-nicotine vaccine is set to go to Phase III clinical trials.

Survivors struggling with lung problems due to smoking may consult the website of the American Lung Association.

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