Aug. 8 2005
Washington, DC — There is no one in the profession of journalism who has done more to increase public awareness of the dangers of smoking than Peter Jennings, who died last night of lung cancer at his home in New York City. His interest in bringing to millions of viewers the reality of the terrible toll that tobacco takes on America's families surely has resulted in countless lives being saved. It is a terrible irony that a man so gifted and so committed to helping others should lose his own life to the insidious dangers of the addiction he worked so hard to warn others about.
Peter Jennings recognized the magnitude of the problems caused by tobacco, but he also never let the statistics blur the individual tragedy. Perhaps more important, he recognized that the problems caused by tobacco deserved more than the proverbial 15 minutes of fame. For that reason, he returned to the issue time and time again. Most recently, his continuing commitment to informing his viewers about the need for strong, effective measures to combat tobacco addiction resulted last September in a one-hour prime time special entitled “From the Tobacco File-Untold Stories of Betrayal and Neglect” which was recently nominated for an Emmy award.
We are both saddened and diminished by the loss of such a truly remarkable man. Our thoughts and prayers are with Peter Jennings' family.