It is with deep sadness that ASH announces the passing of a longtime tobacco control friend and pioneer, C. Everett Koop, on February 25th at the age of 96.
As the U.S. Surgeon General under President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush, he put health before politics and sought to educate American families on preventable diseases, especially the HIV epidemic and the harm of tobacco use and exposure.
As early as 1982, Dr. Koop publicly reported “that nicotine was as addictive as heroin, warned against the hazards of secondhand smoke and updated the warning labels on cigarette packs” (Washington Post). He encouraged nonsmokers to be empowered and to stand up for their right to lead healthy lives. Authoring more than 200 articles and books while improving millions of lives worldwide, Dr. Koop went on to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton in 1995.
Dr. Koop opened and enhanced the health dialogue and will be sorely missed by friends, family, and fellow advocates for tobacco control and public health.
Executive Director of ASH