• 7/8/2004
  • Cleveland, OH
  • The Cleveland Clinic Foundation
  • PRNewswire

Hollywood screenwriter Joe Eszterhas has released “One-Hundred-Year-Old Man,” the third installment in his trilogy of public service announcements designed to highlight the dangers of smoking. Eszterhas, writer of such films as Basic Instinct, Flashdance and Jagged Edge, wrote and produced all three PSAs, which were directed by Tony Kaye (American History X.)

“One-Hundred-Year-Old Man” shatters the myth that anyone is immune to the dangers of smoking. Eszterhas, who began using tobacco at age 12, says he once believed he would be “that hundred-year-old man that you read about who stills smokes.” When he was diagnosed with throat cancer, however, his illusion vanished.

Eszterhas teamed up with The Cleveland Clinic in 2002 after his successful treatment for cancer to form the “Join Joe Campaign,” an award-winning, grass- roots effort that spreads his anti-smoking message. The web-based campaign can be accessed at http://www.clevelandclinic.org/joinjoe .

“Hollywood simply has to confront its complicity in the deaths of millions of smokers,” Eszterhas said. “For the past year and a half, I have been engaged in a struggle both through the media and behind the scenes to ban smoking in films. By filming this public service announcement, I am hoping that my cancer and my voice will neutralize the pro-smoking message.”

Eszterhas, whose films have grossed more than a billion dollars at the box office, is the first major Hollywood figure to criticize his own role in the glamorization of smoking on screen and to call for a voluntary industrywide ban of smoking in films.

“These messages have reached an audience that seldom listens to the anti- smoking message,” said Angela Calman, director of the Join Joe campaign and chief communications officer of The Cleveland Clinic. “Joe has an enormous amount of credibility with smokers because he was one of them, and his sympathy lies with those who are addicted. Quitting smoking was the most difficult challenge in his life, and he has never tried to minimize that in his message.”

The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, located in Cleveland, Ohio, is a not-for- profit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. The Cleveland Clinic was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. U.S. News & World Report consistently names The Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. Approximately 1,200 full-time salaried physicians at The Cleveland Clinic and Cleveland Clinic Florida represent more than 100 medical specialties and subspecialties. In 2003, patients came for treatment from every state and from nearly 90 countries. The Cleveland Clinic website address is http://www.clevelandclinic.org .