For Immediate Release
May 2, 2001
Dr. David McKeown
Medical Officer of Health
Region of Peel
905-791-7800, Ext. 2215
"Hook Them Young, Hook Them For Life"
Insider DR. JEFFREY WIGAND
Reveals Real Truths Behind Tobacco Industry Marketing
(Brampton) - Yesterday in Mississauga, Dr. Jeffrey Wigand, whose battle with the tobacco industry inspired the Oscar-nominated movie, "The Insider", revealed the horrifying truths behind tobacco marketing to shocked students, health professionals and community partners.
"Hook them young, hook them for life is the not-so-silent message in tobacco advertising," stated Wigand, the former head of research and development at Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation. "Tobacco companies use the media, the entertainment industry, sports events, music and deceptive advertising to introduce children to tobacco."
Dr. Wigand was in Mississauga to help launch Peel Health's new Tobacco Youth Initiative pilot project, and to speak at a Peel Heart Health Network event.
"Tobacco companies ignore the sobering reality that smoking before the age of fifteen puts you at TEN times more risk to get cancer than if you started at age twenty-five," exclaimed Wigand. "And more than eighty percent of today's tobacco users became addicted before the age of eighteen."
Dr. Wigand was thrust into international prominence in 1995 when he became the tobacco industry's highest-ranking former executive to publicly address the health and safety issues of tobacco use. Since then, Wigand has traveled the world, through his non-profit organization Smoke Free Kids, Inc., to help reduce teen tobacco use.
After his evening presentation, Dr. Wigand was presented with the Peel Heart Health Network's Healthy at Heart Award for his leadership, commitment and advocacy for youth through Smoke-Free Kids, Inc. Ten-year-old Palgrave resident D.J. Austin, who won the Healthy at Heart Award in 2000, presented Wigand with the award. Wigand was clearly moved by young D.J., who described how his father's death from a heart attack at age 41 inspired the young man to improve his own heart health through exercise, healthy eating and never smoking.
Peel Health's Tobacco Youth Initiative, a pilot program in partnership with the Dufferin-Peel District Catholic School Board and Peel District School Board, will encourage youth to live tobacco-free and increase their awareness of the marketing tactics of the tobacco industry.
Children and teens are also the focus of the new Smoke-Free By-laws in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon. Second-hand smoke is a serious health hazard, particularly for children.
Under the new By-laws, all restaurants, banquet halls, food courts and the food areas in recreational facilities in the Region of Peel must be smoke-free or provide an enclosed, separately ventilated smoking room by June 1, 2001.
Communication Services, 10 Peel Centre Dr., Brampton, ON L6T 4B9
Phone: 905-791-7800, Fax: 905-791-0595 , e-mail
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