School group cuts ties with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — In a quick about-face, the National School Boards Association is cutting ties with the nation's second-biggest cigarette maker, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

The organization said Tuesday that it is severing a recently announced partnership with the Camel and Pall Mall cigarette maker's youth tobacco prevention program called "Right Decisions, Right Now."

The partnership first announced last Thursday was questioned by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who called the program ineffective and urged the association to end its partnership.

Executive Director Tom Gentzel says the association ended the partnership because the debate over its involvement with Reynolds was a distraction from larger efforts to promote student health and well-being.

A spokesman for parent company Reynolds American Inc. said the company is disappointed in the decision but remains committed to reducing youth tobacco use.