Dr. S. Paul Ehrlich Jr., 72, who served as acting surgeon general for four years and lobbied against cigarette smoking, died of pneumonia Thursday in Delray Beach, Fla. He had multiple sclerosis.
Ehrlich, first appointed by President Nixon in 1973, was among six people holding the office who urged Congress to ban smoking in public buildings.
The six doctors also asked legislators to enact stricter controls on secondhand smoke and the sale and advertising of tobacco. Their effort was made in 1994 to mark the 30th anniversary of the landmark surgeon general's report on smoking and disease.
Ehrlich, who served under Presidents Ford and Carter as well as Nixon, also appeared with other former officeholders to oppose a proposed federal policy requiring parental consent before providing contraceptives to minors.
Born in Minneapolis, Ehrlich held two bachelor's degrees and a medical degree from the University of Minnesota and a master's in public health from UC Berkeley. He worked for the Public Health Service for 25 years and served as director of the Office of International Health and vice president of the American Institutes for Research.