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Monday, December 11, 2023
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Death of a Distinguished Speaker

Phillip Morris, an avid chain smoker, was rushed to the hospital late Sunday night.

Diagnosed with having a mild panic attack that led to heart failure, Morris was pronounced dead at 12:01 a.m. this morning.

Morris, a native of England, was born in 1847 on London's Bond Street. He died at the exhausted age of 163. He was a beloved husband to his wife, Virginia, more commonly known for her nickname, Slim. The two began their life together 42 years ago on July 22, 1968. Philip was a devoted father to his sixteen children: Lark, Merit, Benson & Hedges, Marlboro, Saratoga, Basic, Alpine, Cambridge, Chesterfield, Commander, Dave's, English Ovals, L&M, Parliament, Players, and Bristol.

Morris moved to New York City in 1902 and started what would become one of the largest cigarette manufacturing companies, which currently has a net worth over $18 billion.

His death was a shock to all on Sunday night. Morris was believed to be immortal when it came to facing death. Ironically, he was battling lung cancer from 1961 until 1965, the same time the surgeon general had placed a warning on all tobacco products, calling them hazardous to an individual's health.

Doctors said that the cause of his sudden panic attack and heart failure was brought on from the shock of realizing he was not allowed to light up his cigarette while on the University at Buffalo's campus. This year, UB enacted the UBreathe Free policy, a campus-wide campaign that prohibits the right to smoke for all individuals anywhere on campus.

"Phillip had been smoking since he was 15. Sometimes I saw him smoke a pack a day – at least one cigarette every hour. I could imagine the shock he felt when he wasn't allowed to fulfill his lifelong habit," said Virginia (Slim) Morris.

UB had asked Morris to speak on behalf of its yearly Distinguished Speakers Series, an honor granted to nationally-known individuals. Morris was on campus to present his community-wide speech on how to successfully implement morality in business ethics.

Before his speech was scheduled to start, Morris had left the Student Union for a routine cigarette break. While outside, he attempted to light up a cigarette but was caught by HYPERLINK "" \o "Regina

Benjamin"Regina Benjamin, the current surgeon general. Benjamin was on campus to talk about UB's new innovative policy, UBreathe Free, and the positive effects that would come of it.

Out of respect for the new policy, Benjamin felt the need to ask Morris to dispose of his cigarette. Morris, unaware of the policy, told Benjamin that he was appalled that she would ask him that. Benjamin then handed Morris a card explaining the policy. Morris put out his cigarette.

"I don't understand why they have a policy forcing people to go off campus to smoke. Don't students have to pay to attend the university? I know New York is tough on the cigarette industry, but this seems a bit much," Morris said shortly before his passing.

Benjamin reports that as soon as the cigarette left his fingers, Morris began to have breathing issues. He then fell to the ground, holding his chest. Benjamin called for help when she noticed that this was a sign that he was having a panic attack.

"I had never seen anything like that," Benjamin said. "As soon as he started to read about the policy, he grew pale in the face. I knew something was wrong at that point."

Ambulances rushed to the scene shortly after Benjamin's call for help. Morris was taken to the local hospital. The first person to arrive at his side was R.J. Reynolds, a fellow business competitor of Morris.

"He was a mess when I saw him. The life was completely drained from his body. It's a tragedy to lose such a strong competitor," Reynolds said. "To be honest, I thought Phillip would be around forever. I guess the elements of the changing economy finally got to him."

Morris's death is a tragedy, and in response to this tragedy, UB is making every effort to prevent an occurrence such as this one from happening again.

This article is a work of fiction and is written as a satire.



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