The Legacy of Dr. C. Everett Koop…

Gustavo Torrez
Program Manager
The Network for LGBT Health Equity

A leader, advocate, pioneer,  and fellow rebel rouser Dr. C. Everett Koop’s legacy in tobacco control will always be remembered. Never backing down to the tobacco industry Dr. Koop changed the way we think about tobacco control. His vision for a smoke-free nation by 2000 challenged the country to re-think our strategies as we work to reduce the burden tobacco has caused us all. I have and will always respect Dr. Koop’s leadership, and his rebel rousing ways. I valued the fact that he stood up for what’s right, un-influenced by politics and money.  He ensured no matter what that his two cents were always heard, epically his views on tobacco use and the industry. So while we may have lost a pioneer in the field his legacy and fiery passion will live on forever…

I wanted to take a moment and share a statement released today by  Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

On the Loss of Dr. C. Everett Koop, a Tobacco Control Hero We are sorry for the loss of a giant in the field of public health. Dr. Koop recognized tobacco’s menace to public health, and he worked tirelessly to combat it. During his eight-year tenure as Surgeon General, he issued eight reports on the devastating health consequences of tobacco use. Among those were his famous 1986 report linking secondhand smoke and lung cancer and his 1988 report that found nicotine was as addictive as heroin or cocaine. Dr. Koop was a man of great integrity. He always looked to the strongest scientific evidence to call for changes that improve our nation’s health. He called for a smoke-free society by the year 2000, and campaigned for smoking restrictions in the workplace and public settings. Thanks in large part to his work, 26 states, the District of Columbia and thousands of cities and counties now protect their non-smoking residents with comprehensive smoke-free laws, and more adopt similar laws each year. This coming January will mark the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s report on tobacco use, which linked cigarette smoking with lung cancer in men. Dr. Koop is a mighty link in the chain of doctors, scientists and public health professionals that stretches from that landmark report to this day. We send our condolences to his family with our love, our respect and our gratitude for a life well lived in service to others.

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