Reynolds trust to help smokers to quit
The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust said yesterday that it will give away $10 million in the next five years for projects targeting smoking and other health risks in a campaign to prevent chronic disease.
The trust is asking for proposals from public-health clinics, rural hospitals and other health-care organizations across the state for programs that will prevent such chronic conditions as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
E. Ray Cope, the president of the trust, said that the charity is looking for innovative ways to help people -- particularly poor people -- exercise, eat well and quit smoking.
Grants will start next year and last for five years.
Kate B. Reynolds, who married into the founding family of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., established the trust in her will. The charity operates independently from the Reynolds family and the tobacco company, and Cope said that its board had no qualms about paying for programs for reducing smoking.
Still, there may be a limit to how far some board members will take an anti-smoking health campaign. Murray Greason, a board member and a local attorney whose firm represents Reynolds Tobacco, said that he was struck by the irony of using Kate Reynolds' estate to help people quit smoking.
''We're going to fund a big program in preventive medicine, and I think everyone today realizes that there are problems connected with smoking cigarettes. I happen to believe that grown people have a perfect right to decide to smoke,'' he said.
''The main design for the program is these will be run by medical organizations, not propaganda organizations run by anti-smoking zealots. This is not going to be dueling propaganda with Mrs. Reynolds' money.''