Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop was honored for his eight-year anti-smoking crusade that prompted thousands of people to give up the habit.
The $150,000 Tyler Prize is presented annually by the University of Southern California to individuals who help improve environmental health and food sources.The award and money were presented Friday to Koop and Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, who studied high-yielding grains in India for 43 years.
Koop led an anti-smoking campaign during his tenure as surgeon general from 1981 to 1989. He has referred to smoking as "the greatest killer and producer of premature deaths" in the country.
He also criticized the tobacco industry for targeting youth in advertising.