Passing of Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop

Statement of the American Lung Association

Washington, D.C. (February 25, 2013)

The American Lung Association joins the nation in mourning the passing of C. Everett Koop, MD, former U.S. Surgeon General and life-long lung health champion, and offers condolences to Dr. Koop’s family and loved ones. Dr. Koop will be remembered as one of the greatest champions for public health in U.S. history.

The American Lung Association honors the indispensable role Dr. Koop played as “America’s Doctor,” particularly in his vigorous efforts to inform the public about the health risks of smoking and other forms of tobacco use. As Surgeon General, he released eight reports on the health consequences of tobacco use, including the first report on the health consequences of exposure to secondhand smoke.

Dr. Koop also instituted stronger and more prominently placed health warnings on cigarette packs and required advertising to also include these warnings. In 1985 Dr. Koop issued a challenge to Americans to "create a smoke-free society in the United States,” a vision that the American Lung Association is tirelessly working towards to this day.

In honor of his life-long dedication to tobacco control and the health of the nation, the American Lung Association and the Koop Foundation, Inc. present the annual Unsung Heroes’ Award. The national award is presented annually to an advocate for tobacco control who has made significant, but frequently unrecognized, contributions to reduce the burden of tobacco use. The next award will be announced in June 2013.

The American Lung Association shares with the nation our gratitude for a life committed to improving the health and the lives of all of us.


About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases.  For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: