TMZ sent PWMania.com the following:
WWE star R-Truth is taking serious heat for lighting up a cigarette on “RAW” last night … in front of a row of kids — and now, the biggest anti-smoking activist on the planet is DEMANDING he apologize.
The drama began when Ron “R-Truth” Killings hit up the audience for a smoke … and actually LIT UP right in front of them … including several children.
But the on-screen cig-fest didn’t sit so well with anti-smoking activist Patrick Reynolds (pictured right) — Executive Director of TobaccoFree.org — who has officially issued a challenge to the wrestler … to publicly apologize for the smoking stunt.
Reynolds — ironically the grandson of tobacco magnate R.J. Reynolds — tells TMZ, “For him to smoke in front of [children] is irresponsible. At best, it’s thoughtless, and at worst, if he calculated appealing to kids by posing as a bad-boy outlaw, it’s evil.”
Reynolds adds, “If he wants help in quitting, I’ll be happy to be his personal coach.”
The WWE issued a statement to TMZ defending the cigarette incident — saying, “The negative effect smoking has on one’s health and physical performance was a part of a storyline on last night’s Monday Night Raw. Negative depictions of tobacco use on television are not unusual and can be seen on other TV-PG shows.”