The Foundation for a Smokefree America is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate people of all ages about smoking and tobacco use. The goals of the Foundation are:
The organization was founded in 1989 by Patrick Reynolds, a grandson of the founder of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. A former pack-a-day smoker, he saw his father, oldest brother and other relatives die from cigarette-induced emphysema and cancer.
Concerned about the widespread death, disease, and economic hardship caused by tobacco, Patrick Reynolds divested his RJR stock, quit smoking and became, in the words of former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, "one of the nation's most influential advocates of a smokefree America."
Since first speaking out publicly in 1986, Mr. Reynolds has testified before Congress, as well as State and municipal legislatures, on a wide range of tobacco issues. His actions have earned him the praise and admiration of his colleagues, including the World Health Organization, which honored him in 1988, and the Mount Sinai Hospital Group of Chicago, which named him "Humanitarian of the Year" in 1989.
Patrick Reynolds' name, his story and his dedication
to improving the health of present and future generations
make him a unique and powerful spokesman against smoking.
Each year since founding The Foundation for a Smokefree America, Mr. Reynolds has spoken before dozens of universities, high and middle schools, and before numerous health conferences and forums. The press has been invited to the great majority of his talks, and his appearances have received wide and very positive coverage in print and broadcast media. Although his speaking work and the Foundation are separate endeavors, he has always mentioned the Foundation during his media interviews and lectures. In this way he has helped build great goodwill for the Foundation.
Mr. Reynolds was partly motivated by the deaths of his father and other family members from tobacco use, and partly by his own ten year struggle to break an addiction to cigarettes. He has noted that, "When my grandfather began manufacturing cigarettes at the turn of the century, he did not know that smoking causes lung disease, heart disease and cancer. Now that this has been absolutely proven, I want to help people wake up to how addictive and poisonous cigarettes are."
Since beginning his tobacco free advocacy work in 1986, Mr. Reynolds has had nearly one thousand media interviews in over 250 cities and in Europe, and has given numerous lectures before schools, colleges, and health organizations. The organization has a mailing list of ten thousand names nationally.
All of this has been accomplished with part-time staff
and a small home office. The successes to date have been
based on the dedication and knowledge of the founder,
Patrick Reynolds, and on the public response to his
The Problem Being Addressed
Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death and disease. Cigarettes cause more deaths than cocaine, auto accidents, AIDS, alcohol, heroin, fire, suicide and homicide combined.
The costs to our society include over 400,000 lives lost every year in the U.S.-- over 1200 each day -- and $50 billion annually in lost productivity and increased health care costs. Worldwide, the toll exacted by tobacco use is two to three million deaths each year. Of the world's 1.2 billion smokers, the world health Organization estimates that 500 million of them will die because of smoking. This means that 9% of people now alive will die from cigarettes.
In most cases, the decision to smoke is not made by adults. Sixty percent of smokers start by the age of 14, and 90% of smokers are firmly addicted before reaching age 19. Stated another way, only one in ten smokers become addicted after the age of 19. So, almost no one starts smoking after age 19.
Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop alerted the nation that nicotine is as addictive as heroin or cocaine. Yet tobacco companies have been spending over $4 billion annually on advertising, or $15 annually for every man, woman, and child in the country.
Because of health problems associated with cigarette
smoking, several nations have passed a ban on cigarette
advertising. But in the US, the Congress legislated no
significant change in this area in the past 30 years.
Public response to Patrick Reynolds' work, and resulting interest in The Foundation for a Smokefree America, has been tremendous. Recent media coverage of Mr. Reynolds' lectures and news conferences includes articles in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, New York Daily News, Denver's Rocky Mountain News, Arizona's Republic, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, Associated press, Germany's Der Stern, Japan's Shinbun, and more. Mr. Reynolds has also recently appeared on The today Show, Good Morning America, CNN Headline News, Larry King Live, ABC World News, CNBC and many other prestigious television programs.
The Foundation for a Smokefree America has had success as a volunteer based organization. As a consequence of Mr. Reynolds' lectures, television and radio appearances, hundreds of callers who read about or saw Mr. Reynolds have phoned in to make donations or volunteer time to The Foundation for a Smokefree America. Many of them are now assisting the organization, or are on standby to give of their time and professional skills. Their addresses, phone numbers and skills are always captured and entered into our data base. Callers are often referred to local organizations in their own cities, fighting for a particular issue the caller is interested in.
But public response has overwhelmed the capacities of
a volunteer-run organization. The Board of Directors and
Patrick Reynolds know it is time to hire staff for the
organization. Because of his commitment, Reynolds has
allowed the organization to operate out of his own modest
home. This is a man whose work is worthy of support; and
the potential for the organization is enormous.
With staffing and an office to handle public response, the organization will develop and implement programs in the tobacco education area. We will research and use the most effective existing programs. Other plans call for us to:
A staffed organization will have increased capacity to raise funds from interested individuals, foundations, from corporations with concern for health, and from fees.
Smoking statistics and anti-tobacco legislation across the country
reflect a growing interest in smoking prevention and protection from
secondhand smoke. The Foundation for a Smokefree America, under the
unique leadership of Patrick Reynolds, is in position make a tremendous
difference for the public's health.
Major Benefactors Sought
The Foundation for a Smokefree America is presently in
need of funding, and is now seeking major benefactors who
care about our cause and who are in a position to make
substantial donations. Volunteers who are able to put us
in touch with major donors are welcome to contact us.
We Don't Make Grants
We do not make grants to organizations or individuals seeking funding.
Please do not contact us for any purpose other than the foregoing.
We are lightly staffed at present, and are not able to handle calls
on other matters.
The Foundation is in need of funding and endowment. We are now seeking major benefactors who care deeply about this issue, and who are prepared to make a substantial donation. This will enable our Foundation to gain momentum and realize its goals in the future. Working together, we will and can make the dream of a tobacco-free society a reality.
Contact: Glendene Wolf