– A Tobacco Control Pioneer –
Public health and smoking control lost one of its most ardent supporters on Saturday, January 18, 2017 with the death of Charles “Mickey” LeMaistre at age 92.·
“Extraordinary” is the only word that adequately describes Mickey’s long career dedicated to improving the health of this nation. In 1962, at the age of 38, he was the youngest member appointed to serve on Surgeon General Luther Terry’s Advisory Committee on Smoking and Health that issued its landmark report linking cigarette smoking to lung cancer, heart and lung issues. Mickey was the last surviving member of the Advisory Committee.
Mickey served as a Chancellor of the University of Texas System for seven years (1971-1978) where he directed a significant expansion of the UT System, including new medical schools in Houston and San Antonio, and new Universities in Dallas, Odessa and San Antonio before becoming President of MD Anderson Cancer Center. During 18 years as the second full-time President of MD Anderson, Mickey led the institution through the period of substantial growth in programs, personnel, facilities, private philanthropy and reputation.
Smoking control was an important and ongoing part of his life-long cancer prevention message. He chaired the National Conference on Smoking OR Health in 1981, the International Summit of Smoking Control Leaders in 1985, and he served as President of the American Cancer Society in 1987; he also chaired the Society’s National Committee on Tobacco and Cancer for two years.
In recognition of his life-time commitment to cancer prevention and control, the ACS presented Dr. Charles LeMaistre with its highest tribute, the Medal of Honor.
“The Executive Summary Report provides the three essential interventions that must be enhanced and given the highest priority if we are to accelerate the dramatic reduction in cigarette smoking in adults achieved over the last five decades.
This landmark Report represents a consensus of the opinions of those who led the highly successful past efforts toward a society free from cigarettes”.
Mickey LeMaistre – November 6, 2016