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FOR RELEASE: March 8, 2001
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

"Party of Five" Actor Jeremy London to Film Tobacco Use Prevention Public Service Announcement in Tuttle, Oklahoma

Jeremy London, who starred as “Griffin” for five years on the Golden Globe winning television series, “Party of Five,” is returning to his family's hometown of Tuttle, Oklahoma, on March 16-18, to direct a very personal public service announcement (PSA) for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Office on Smoking & Health. The television PSA will focus on a personal story of losing loved ones to tobacco-related disease.

London, who has been successfully working in film/television for more than 10 years, wants to use his creative talents to address an issue that is near and dear to his heart – losing family members to tobacco. “Many people in my family have died from smoking. The focus of this spot is not to rehash how tobacco will cause pain to the smoker, but the fact that it causes pain to the ones left behind.” London added that the primary location for shooting will be the graveyard in Tuttle, where his grandfather is buried.

London is not a person who likes to point fingers and preach to people about what they should or should not do with their lives. However, having just directed former tobacco executive insider, Dr. Jeffrey Wigand, in CDC's educational video, “Secrets Through The Smoke,” London believes that by providing the public, especially young people, with truthful, hard-hitting facts, that they will choose to make healthier lifestyle decisions.

“Jeremy is very talented and committed to using his creativity in positive ways,” said Melissa Havard, Entertainment Liaison from the CDC Office on Smoking & Health. “If, through his video and PSA, we can positively affect just one child or adult in terms of smoking prevention or cessation, then we will have helped to save a life.”

Each day in Oklahoma, 16 people die prematurely from tobacco use, totaling nearly 6,000 people annually, making it the state's leading cause of death and addiction. Forty-two percent of Oklahoma's school children in grades 9 –12 and 21 percent of children in grades 6 – 8 used tobacco products in 1999, compared to national averages of 35 percent for high school students and 13 percent for middle school students.

For information on tobacco-related issues in Oklahoma, contact Doug Matheny, Office of Tobacco Use Prevention, Oklahoma State Department of Health, 405/271-3619. For further information and interview requests on Jeremy London's visit to Oklahoma, contact Chris Coronado, Primitive Entertainment, (818) 755-9584 or Melissa Havard, CDC's Office on Smoking & Health, (770) 488-5786.

To obtain a free copy of “Secrets Through the Smoke,” visit this Web site: www.cdc.gov/tobacco.

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