2013-02-26 06:43:43 - WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 25, 2013): Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, who died today at 96, was the most effective and best known Surgeon General of all times, and the government's greatest champion for nonsmokers' rights, says the man who started the nonsmoker's rights movement.
Just as Dr. Luther Terry triggered the modern antismoking movement with his dramatic Surgeon General's report in 1964, Koop's outspoken support of the fledgling nonsmokers' rights movement was a major factor in its development, and helped lead to bans on smoking in many workplace and public places, initially in the U.S. and now around the world, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.
At the First World Conference on Nonsmokers' Rights, which Banzhaf held in 1985 in Washington, D.C., Koop urged nonsmokers to join together to form a nonsmoking majority and regain control of their environment.
Koop said smoking was no longer the exclusive issue of researchers but for husbands and wives, for workers, for children, for the elderly, for
many millions of people who do not smoke and who have a right to a smoke-free environment. .
What you are doing here today and will continue to do, I would hope ... is to claim ownership of this health issue in the name of the nonsmoking majority' Koop said.
"After nearly two decades of research and education directed exclusively to the problems of smokers, we are now beginning to develop scientific data, law ... and educational programs on behalf of the nonsmoking public' Koop argued.
You don't have to be a consultant in clinical chemistry to realize that nonsmokers need to come together, to organize and pool their energies and resources, in order to regain control of -- and scrub up -- the environment' Koop said.
Virtually up until the end of his life, Koop continued to meet with antismoking activists to generate ideas and support for the movement, said Banzhaf, who has been called "Mr. Anti-Smoking," "One of the Most Vocal and Effective Anti-Tobacco Attorneys," and "a Driving Force Behind the Lawsuits That Have Cost Tobacco Companies Billions of Dollars."
JOHN F. BANZHAF III, B.S.E.E., J.D., Sc.D.
Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School,
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor,
Fellow, World Technology Network,
Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
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