It is with a heavy heart that all of us at ANR mourn the passing of Michael Pertschuk, a pioneer in social justice advocacy and a mentor and leader for tobacco control advocates. He held the position of chief counsel to the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee and drafted the legislation that required warnings on cigarette labels and that banned broadcast advertising of tobacco products. From 1977 until 1984, he served as commissioner and chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, leading efforts to ban all advertising targeted at children. In 1984 he co-founded the Advocacy Institute, which provided public health advocacy trainings and the first-ever listserv for the movement. He was also the proud father of Mark Pertschuk, a former ANR executive director and board president. Two past ANR board members shared the following memories about Mike:
“The tobacco control movement in the late 1980s was an interesting mixture of grassroots nonsmokers’ rights advocates working to get smoke out of their airspace paired with public health professionals scrambling to stand up some of the first state and local tobacco control programs. Mike Pertschuk – a leader in the consumer protection movement – was a catalyst who helped turbo charge this mix. Mike knew a corporate bully when he saw one; he helped us recognize the tobacco industry for the disease vector that it is, and his shop, the Advocacy Institute, girded us for battle.”
—Robin Hobart, Former ANR/F Board Member
“I remember Michael as a kind and gracious man who understood the importance of expanding the field of grassroots advocates in tobacco control and other public interest areas. I participated in an Advocacy Institute training program that helped me develop my advocacy skills. His commitment to fighting the tobacco industry was heart-felt and effective.”
—Kirk Kleinschmidt, Former ANR/F Board President
We share our condolences with the entire Pertschuk family and those who were part of his tobacco control advocacy family.