- About Me
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Patrick Reynolds' biography
Patrick Reynolds' advocacy work, motivational talks to youth and adults and appearances in the press have made him a well known and respected champion of a smokefree society. He has helped remind millions of people around the world of the dangers of smoking.
Patrick watched his father, RJ Reynolds, Jr., his oldest brother RJ 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 was the first tobacco industry figure to do so.
A grandson of cigarette company founder RJ Reynolds, Patrick first spoke out publicly at a Congressional hearing in favor of a ban on all cigarette advertising in 1986. In 2003, former US Surgeon General C. Everett Koop said, "Patrick Reynolds is one of the nation's most influential advocates of a smokefree America. His testimony is invaluable to our society."
"I chose this work because my father died from smoking, and because I have been able to make a difference on tobacco issues as a member of the R.J. Reynolds family," he says. "None of my family work in the tobacco industry, and we agreed to disagree about this. I have no ties at all to the industry."
In March, 2009, Mr. Reynolds met in Washington DC with U.S. Congressman Henry Waxman to offer his support for the bill for FDA regulation of tobacco. The bill was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in June, 2009.
In April, 2009, Mr. Reynolds was invited to Greece by Health Minister Avramopoulos to call attention to the serious health hazards posed by second hand smoke and tobacco use. There was strong Greek news coverage; Mr. Reynolds was profiled in numerous national Greek media outlets.
Mr. Reynolds' Foundation is presently contacting Health Ministers around the world. He hopes to meet publicly in each country with the Health Minister, and speak to children in schools to call public attention to the problem of tobacco use, as he did in Greece.
Alexix Zorbas of the Greek Health Ministry provided this statement recommending him to other nations: "At our conference launching the national campaign, Mr. Reynolds gave a well-informed, polished and persuasive speech, and assisted us in promoting the Greek State’s agenda on tobacco, through strong and very positive national media coverage of his visit. Moreover, his talk to youth ages 10 - 14 at one of our local schools was a tremendous success, and made a significant impact on several hundred students in attendance.
"Thus, I hereby would like to highly recommend Mr. Reynolds as a speaker targeting all ranges and ages of society, as well as a core representative to the press, regarding the negative effects of smoking and secondhand smoke.
"Mr. Reynolds has been a most valuable addition towards our public health efforts in Greece, and has made a noticeable difference to our national efforts against smoking." See his original letter.
In the US, Patrick Reynolds is also a frequent speaker to youth at schools, presenting his unique motivational talk, The Truth About Tobacco with passion and authenticity. He is also a popular guest lecturer on university campuses, giving his talk Tobacco Wars. Over
In 2006 Mr. Reynolds released a DVD of a live talk for youth, A Talk With Your Kids About Smoking. The video shows a talk he gave to 1,000 ninth graders. Illustrated with award-winning TV spots, film clips and anti-smoking graphics, the video sends an empowering message to youth about cigarette advertising, smoking in films, and the addictiveness of nicotine. It closes with Mr. Reynolds' unique initiation for teens, and his inspirational message of hope for the future, especially needed by youth in a time of terrorism and uncertainty about the future. The video has won much acclaim from educators.
Over the years Mr. Reynolds has spoken before dozens of municipal and State legislatures in support of proposed smoking ordinances which became law. He has campaigned for numerous State cigarette tax increases,FDA regulation of tobacco, Statewide 100% smoking bans, and laws to limit youth access to cigarettes. He has also approached several members of the US Congress about the aggressive advertising of US brands in the Third World and Asia.
From the late 1990's through the present, Patrick Reynolds has called for governors and State legislators to increase youth smoking prevention spending, pointing out, "Studies have proven that States with well funded tobacco prevention programs have significantly lower rates of teen smoking, while States with poorly funded programs have far higher levels of youth smoking. In short, these programs work and should be funded." To check your state's current spending on smoking prevention programs, please see www.tobaccofreekids.org/reports/settlements. For your State's most recent overall tobacco report card, see StateofTobaccoControl.org.
In 1989, Mr. Reynolds founded the Foundation for a Smokefree America, a nonprofit group whose mission is to motivate youth to stay tobacco free, and to empower smokers to quit successfully.
Also in 1989, Little, Brown published The Gilded Leaf, a colorful family biography he co-authored with Tom Shachtman, which spans three generations of the RJ Reynolds family.
In 1987 Mr. Reynolds testified again in Congress, joining the many voices who helped bring about the first 2 hour ban of smoking on all US domestic flights.
In 1988, the UN's World Health Organization honored him with a special award. In 1989, Chicago's Mt. Sinai Hospital awarded him its Humanitarian of the Year award.
He is married and lives in Los Angeles.