Daily Herald

An unlikely smoking ban advocate

Posted Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Continuing the momentum from a law banning smoking in public places, Elk Grove Village held a smoke-out forum on Tuesday, featuring the grandson of tobacco tycoon R.J. Reynolds.

Patrick Reynolds, whose grandfather founded R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., talked about the dangers of smoking and asked for more state spending on smoking prevention and cessation.

While Illinois spent about $11æmillion last year on anti-smoking campaigns for kids, that’s about 17æpercent of the recommended amount, according to the Centers for Disease Control, Reynolds said.

“Illinois is getting $1æbillion a year from cigarette taxes and the tobacco settlement and is only spending $11æmillion annually on tobacco prevention,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds said he watched his father slowly die after years of cigarette smoking, which prompted him to speak out against smoking.

As an advocate for a smoke-free society, Reynolds travels the country giving talks on smoking. He is the founder of the nonprofit Foundation for a Smokefree America.

In 1987, he testified in Congress about a smoking ban on domestic flights, which later became law.

Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson said the officials planned on promoting the village as a smoke-free suburb, since it recently passed a law that forbids smoking in public places. Its ban goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2007.

Cook County recently enacted a similar ban that goes into effect March 15, 2007.

Elk Grove Village also increased licensing fees for businesses that sell tobacco products, from $100 to $1,000 for small businesses and $5,000 for large businesses.

Last month, Elk Grove Village passed the new laws by a 4-2 margin.

Trustees Chris Prochno and Nancy Czarnik voted against the laws, saying the ordinances were too restrictive of personal freedoms.