This Day in Death

2.25.13: Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:25 pm February 27, 2013

C_EVERETT_KOOPWait, that’s not the Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper guy. That’s it; Starting tomorrow, I read the *entire* headline every time, no exceptions.

C. Everett Koop, former Surgeon General/owl-themed Bond villain, died this week after a recent bout of kidney failure. King Koopa (it is absolutely not too late to start calling him that) had a reputation for bucking his own personal beliefs in the interest of public health, such as when he forced a public discussion of the under-reported AIDS epidemic during the 1980s. For his trouble, Koop got accused by the religious right of pushing a “gay agenda.” For not wanting gay people to all just quietly die in a pit somewhere, I guess. Was that whole decade just a post-apocalyptic dystopia of old white men in shadowy rooms rubbing their hands together and coming up with new ways to be total dicks to everybody? Because the evidence really seems to be mounting. I mean, sure, the way VH1 Classic tells it, it was ten uninterrupted years of Hall & Oates music videos, but that’s the cable propaganda machine for you.

In February 1982, Koop released a scathing report on smoking, proclaiming it “the most important public health issue of our time.” He cited the health risks of smoking and called for the U.S. to become a “smoke-free nation.”

He followed up in 1988 with the landmark report “The Health Consequences of Smoking-Nicotine Addiction,” which equated nicotine addiction with addiction to cocaine and heroin. The report cited the links between smoking and a variety of cancers, highlighted the dangers of second-hand smoke to the non-smoker and called for warning labels on tobacco packages.

Calling out the dangers of smoking was a controversial move, and is largely believed to have cost then-candidate George H.W. Bush the ‘1950s Greasers in White T-Shirts and Leather Jackets’ vote. You wouldn’t think those guys would be following politics so closely, but if you’d ever seen them caucus you’d know their official stance on political ignorance is a firm “sit on it.”


Source: The LA Times

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