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Speaking Out!

Insiders

Jeffrey Wigand--Whisstleblower
Former researcher for B & W Tobacco Co.

In the late 80's, Dr. Jeffrey Wigand was hired by the Brown and Williamson Tobacco Co. to develop a safer cigarette. Instead he discovered that the industry didn't really want a safer cigarette because that would acknowledge that cigarettes were unsafe.

In order to hide the truth about the addictiveness of nicotine and the damage done by the tar; they hired lawyers to alter the scientific reports and delete the damaging evidence...anything that would interfere with their profits.

When he decided to go public with what he knew, the world sat riveted to their television screens and were shocked by the story that unfolded on CBS's 60 Minutes news program. The movie, The Insider, later revealed the larger story, including the threats and harassment he has had to endure in order to stand by the truth.

In addition to testifying against the tobacco companies, Dr. Wigand has set up speaking tours and a foundation called Smoke-free Kids to educate children about "how the industry uses the media, the entertainment industry, sports events, music, and deceptive advertising to introduce children to tobacco." How they try to"'hook them young, hook them for life ".

To see his testimony and learn more: http://www.jeffreywigand.com/

 

Patrick Reynolds -- RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. Heir

Patrick Reynolds was the first tobacco industry figure to turn his back on the cigarette companies.

A grandson of tobacco company founder RJ Reynolds, Mr. Reynolds 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 hat his family helped build.

He first spoke out publicly in 1986 at a Congressional hearing, in favor of a ban on all cigarette advertising.

Since then he has been speaking to young people, sharing experiences and insights from his unique perspective and encouraging them to look forward to a healthy, and hopeful future.

He set up the Foundation for a Smokefree America to motivate youth to stay tobaccofree, and to empower smokers to quit.

For more information: http://www.TobaccoFree.org


Alan Landers--Former "Winston Man"

After years of smoking the product he promoted, Landers' heart, lungs, and throat were severely damaged.

Surviving two lung cancer tumors, reconstructive vocal cord surgery, and a double heart-bypass surgery, he has gone on to become an outspoken anti-tobacco advocate and critic of the tobacco industry.

As an actor and model who promoted Winston cigarettes in magazines, billboards, and television ads during the 1960s and '70s, he knows the tobacco industry well.

"I detest the tobacco people," he says. "They are cold-hearted killers and marketers of death. They don't care if you live or die. All they want is your money...

I'm ashamed that I helped promote such a lethal and addictive product to the children and adults of this country.”

[Times photo: John Pendygraft]

 

Susan Connelly-- Former Marlboro and Taryton Model

As a young woman, I was a model and made lots of TV commercials, Marlboro for one and then a Taryton...remember "I would rather fight then switch". Well, sorry I did not switch...to a "non-smoker". I ended up with emphysema. I was diagnosed in 1991 and would not be here to write this if I had not had two "lung reduction" surgeries.

Today, I am a full time (fine arts) painter but I am on O2 for 10-12 hours a day. My husband must load and unload my paintings for shows and I lead a very sedentary life, pacing myself so that my energy can go into the canvases I paint.

My sister, a noted painter, died at 59 and my father at 61, so I have out-lived them both. They both died from emphysema. And they were both smokers. My younger brother gave up the cigarettes at 30 years old and he is fine, so whatever gene we were born with (or enzyme) is only activated with smoking.

Today, I cannot remember one cigarette that I ever smoked that was worth all the pain and lost years. It would be a joy to load my own paintings, to be self-reliant. I used to ski and play tennis and my own self-denial led me to this place where I am today. In 1992, my husband and I had to leave our home in Santa Fe (7,000 feet altitude) and move to a lower altitude. We left our children and our home, our friends and life style and now only have memories of those 30 years.

Next week I am having an opening at a gallery on the famous Canyon Road in Santa Fe and cannot attend. Doctor's orders, as I am recovering from yet another pneumonia. So, my husband will go in my place to greet all our friends and collectors.

BTW, we live in Las Cruces, NM, which is totally smoke-free and it is great!!

I can remember a scene growing up in Laguna Beach. My girl friend and I at age 16 with a stolen package (my sister's) of Pall Malls, sitting on the beach, learning how to smoke so we would look older and more sophisticated. There was a bunch of college-aged boys on the beach and we so wanted to impress them. We coughed and almost threw up, but with determination we learned how to smoke .

I hope to God that she quit before I did.

Susan Connelly

SusanConnelly

I played a deadly game and I lost. It is similar to Russian Roulette, except that in Russian Roulette if you lose, you die immediately. In the game that I played, you die a long agonizing death. You slowly smother.
And not only do you die in this gruesome manner, but all the people that you love and care about, get to watch you die. And they even have to take care of you while you die. You get to see your husband or wife, your parents and your children look at you with such sadness and you feel like you are slipping away from them.

You die a little each day. However, there are times when you hasten it by catching a common cold, which quickly turns into pneumonia and you get to go to the hospital.  In that case, you may speed up your death by several months or even a year or two. You might get to spend some time attached to the ventilator, a life support that does your breathing for you.
As you die, your body may swell up from the medication and you will probably get Cataracts in your eyes, blurring your vision until surgery corrects it. Also, your bones become brittle and you can break a bone even without falling. Your skin will age like something in a science fiction movie.... The doctors call it Onion Skin. You may have to leave your home that you love because the altitude is too high for your disease. The disease is Emphysema and it is caused by smoking.

I remember when I first started smoking. Sitting on a beach and practicing with my girlfriend. We had a red package of Pall Malls and we smoked them and coughed our heads off. I thought, "How could anyone like to smoke?" We were sixteen years old. But I had a crush on a senior and all the seniors smoked. It was so cool. And all the sexy movie stars smoked! I really thought that somehow the cigarettes would make me look older and sophisticated. Well. I was right!  It was not
immediate, but smoking does make you look older. Old and wrinkled, before your time.

My husband and I are at the age where we should be planning that return trip to Paris and Rome. But I can no longer travel.
We have had to change our standard of living because my illness has been so expensive. I could not attend my son's graduation because I could not tolerate the altitude. My illness has affected every member of our family. It has been eight long years since I got my "bullet" of information: my "diagnosis". I know my two sons would like to write a segment too. They are very angry at those cigarettes that have taken my life away from me and now is taking me away from them. They both have asthma and allergies and I wonder how much the second hand smoke damaged them directly.

I can tell you that there was never one cigarette that I ever smoked that was worth the price that we have paid.

.This is the only modeling photo that I have where I am smoking. I hope this helps. The problem with current photos is that I only keep the good ones! And I do not look ill by the time I put my make-up on. I am on O2 approx 12 hours a day and as needed. I carry it in my car for emergencies and I pace myself so that I don't run out of gas...oxogen. I liken myself to the little bunny on batteries....most of the time they work, but not all the time (like yesterday at Home Depot where I found myself in the deepest corner and then wondered if I would be able to make it all the way back to my car.....Some employee was leading me around on a wild goose chase and as I do not look ill, why would he think I could not manage? Anyway, I was suddenly, totally out of breath and had to remain calm, not panic and do some deep breathing exercises which were not really working. I was admittedly in bad shape and it took me forever to get out of the store and to my car, where I had my portable O2. This does not happen very often as I carefully pace myself and usually know where I am going. I went straight home and was so happy to get in my bed with my O2 and was comepletely exhausted.....Like after hiking to the top of a mountain.
Anyway, smoking wasn't worth it. Living with this disease is so limiting, I can't really travel....it is expensive for the O2 and the airports exhaust me, so we are limited to car travel. Unfortunately, you cannot drive to Tuscany! So, I will never see Italy in this lifetime.
On a closer level, I can't pick up my toddler grandchildren. They reach up for me and the only thing I can do is sit down and let them crawl up on my lap, so we can have some quiet time and read together.
Hope this helps....
Let me know if you need more info.
Susan Connelly

 

Susan Connelly

Janet Sackman -- Chesterfield and Lucky Strike Model

Janet Sackman, a former model who appeared as Miss Chesterfield on the Perry Como television show and was a Lucky Strike cover girl in ads that ran in numerous magazines, began to smoke at age 17 when a tobacco executive told her that an aspiring model like her should smoke.

Today, at age 65, Janet Sackman speaks with a voice box. She developed lung cancer from years of smoking and had to have her larynx and one third of one lung removed. She's lucky to still be alive.

In recent years Janet has become an activist in the tobacco control movement, speaking frequently to youth with a simple message: "If you smoke, you die. Eventually, it gets you."

 

Dave Goerlitz -- Former "Winston Man"

Dave Goerlitz climbed mountains and posed next to helicopters while smoking cigarettes as the "Winston Man" in R.J. Reynolds Co. advertisements in the 1980s.

"I was the live version of GI Joe," said Goerlitz. "My job was to make tobacco look good and to entice young boys into smoking."

He was surprised during a photo session when he found out that none of the R.J. Reynolds executives attending were smokers. "Are you kidding?" one of the executives said. “We reserve that right for the poor, the young, the black, and the stupid.”

Goerlitz, now in his 50's, who used to smoke 3 1/2 packs a day, has also suffered damaging health effects. He was disabled by a stroke in his mid-30s. He lost feeling in his left leg, left side of his face, and lost his sense of taste.

He's spent his recent years speaking to students, revealing the truth about tobacco advertising, exposing the tobacco company lies, and atoning for his earlier actions.

He apologizes to young people for pushing what he calls"the deadliest drug of all". He says, "The image that I projected is nothing but a bunch of lies made up by executives and the tobacco industry."

He's the author of "Before the Smoke Screen."

A man who once earned hundreds of thousands of dollars promoting cigarettes is now telling them to stay away from tobacco.

Goerlitz said he became hooked on cigarettes at 13 and it took him 24 years to kick the habit. For the past 15 years, he has been smoke-free and sharing his story across the country trying to undo the damage his ads may have done.

"I use humor to let kids know that they have to take responsibility for themselves," Goerlitz said.

The tobacco industry targets young people, he said. His job as a model for Winston was to make smokers appear to be cool and full of fun.

"There's nothing fun about having emphysema with tubes up your nose," he said. "You become addicted to this drug for life and then you start justifying it: 'It's my right to smoke. You've got to die from something.'"

Goerlitz said students need to think for themselves.

"Tobacco companies don't care about you," Goerlitz said. "They care about money. "

Young people need to use common sense and logic, he said.

"Open up your mind to the common sense and logic and you will see it's not logical," he said. "It kills you. It's expensive. It's nasty. You're made to feel like a second-class citizen."

 

  • The original Marlboro Man, David Millar, Jr. died of emphysema in 1987.
  • Wayne McLaren, another of the Marlboro cigarette cowboys died of cancer in 1992 at the age of 51.
  • Will Thornbury, a Camel model, died of lung cancer at age of 56 in 1992.

 

 

 

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