Former "Winston Man" preaches cigarette dangers -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Former "Winston Man" preaches cigarette dangers

(R. J. Reynolds advertising) (R. J. Reynolds advertising)
David Goerlitz David Goerlitz

March 25, 2004

Lee County-- The face of smoking in the 1980's is now one of the most outspoken anti-smoking advocates in the country. David Goerlitz says he was hired to get young people to smoke.

Today, he told a new generation of South Georgia smokers about the conspiracy. David Goerlitz was the longtime spokesmodel for Winston cigarettes. "I was paid to be the lead model for the R. J. Reynolds Winston Brand." Today, he speaks out against the very thing he was paid to sell. "I'm telling you it was my job to get kids to smoke.

The tobacco executive from R. J. Reynolds told me, and I testified before Congress about this 14 years ago, the right to smoke was reserved for the young, the poor, the black and the stupid. Now how blatant and immoral is that."

Hundreds of young people at Lee County High School heard Goerlitz say 40 percent of all high schoolers smoke... a statement many students agreed with.

We asked students if they noticed a lot of kids smoking these days. Yep, our bathroom be smoked out," said 10th Grader Ashley Whitlock. "People smoke in the bathroom here. Yes."

Several kids said the bathroom is a hangout for smokers. It's so bad some kids don't even use it. "Like you walk into the bathroom you come out smelling like an ashtray," said 10th Grader Mason Maddux. "It is horrible, I haven't used the bathroom all year because of that."

"I am not surprised when I hear these kids say they won't even, they will hold their normal bodily functions... there is something wrong with that," said Goerlitz.

Teen smoking is a problem Goerlitz says adults ignore and will eventually kill this new generation of smokers. Lee County Administrators say they patrol the bathrooms and hallways often and students caught smoking are punished. The High School is also starting an anti-smoking campaign led by students.

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