Rick Stoddard, star of Indiana's first tobacco prevention ad campaign, will speak to local teens at North Putnam and Cloverdale on Feb. 19.
Stoddard, a nationally recognized advocate who advises teens about the "real" dangers of smoking and the manipulative practices used by tobacco companies to addict new smokers, will share his compelling story with students.
He will start with North Putnam High School at 8:30 a.m., continue with North Putnam Middle School at 10 a.m. and present at Cloverdale High School at 1 p.m. Stoddard lost his wife to tobacco-related disease when she was 46.
Television ads featuring Stoddard telling her story includes the unforgettable line, "I never thought of 23 as middle aged." First filmed and used in Massachusetts and Indiana, these ads have helped spread the word about the dangers of tobacco use.
Stoddard continues to be a powerful force in Indiana's tobacco prevention efforts. He has delivered his story to hundreds of thousands of teenagers at schools across the country. He expects to meet with his one millionth student sometime in April.
Stoddard has also played a role in launching VOICE -- Indiana's youth Movement against tobacco.
"You guys are my support system for sending the message that the tobacco companies have to be stopped from promoting their products," he said.
"My generation can't stop the tobacco companies," he said. "Yours can."
Stoddard said support from today's youth is especially critical in light of the "...latest tricks we've seen from the tobacco industry. They'll do anything. They're trying to lure young girls and women into buying Camel No. 9 cigarettes."
He continues, "They've even attempted to but space in 'Rolling Stone' magazine and trick some of the country's hottest young musicians into lying to you as well by making you believe that they support the tobacco industry. It's devastating."
For more information on Rick's presentation at North Putnam or Cloverdale schools, contact Meredith Wilson at 655-2697 for more information. Rick's visit to Putnam County was coordinated by the Putnam County Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Agency and local area VOICE groups, who can be reached at 655-2697 or firstname.lastname@example.org.