Bloomberg Philanthropies Honors Heroes Leading the Fight Against Big Tobacco
Bloomberg Philanthropies announced today the winners of the Bloomberg Awards for Global Tobacco Control. The awards ceremony took place today in Singapore at the 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health, led by Michael R. Bloomberg, philanthropist and Mayor of New York City.
“Tobacco kills every day but we are fighting back,” said Bloomberg. “Our awardees represent the thousands of heroes who are taking on the fight against tobacco in their countries, regions and cities every day. We are honoring those who have shown exemplary progress since our efforts commenced in 2007, and we hope their work will inspire others to achieve similar success.”
Tobacco use is the leading global cause of preventable death – killing almost six million people annually. The Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use is focused on reducing the public health impact of tobacco use globally by implementing proven tobacco control policies in low- and middle-income countries where 80% of tobacco-related deaths occur. In its first five years, the Initiative’s partners have supported governments and civil society groups by fostering the implementation of smoke-free legislation and other effective tobacco control policies.
The Bloomberg Awards for Global Tobacco Control recognize governments or non-governmental organizations in low- and middle-income countries that demonstrate excellent progress or achievement in implementation of MPOWER policies. The MPOWER strategy, established by the World Health Organization, are the six most effective – and proven – tobacco control interventions: Monitoring the epidemic and prevention policies, Protecting people from secondhand smoke, Offering help to people who want to quit, Warning about the dangers of tobacco, Enforcing bans on advertising, promotion and sponsorship and Raising tobacco taxes and prices.
The 2012 Bloomberg Awards winners are*:
Monitoring: Health Justice, Philippines is providing industry monitoring information to the government to issue and implement the first of its kind policy to protect tobacco control measures against tobacco industry influence.
Protecting: Turkish National Coalition on Tobacco or Health (Turkish acronym: SSUK) is a coalition of more than 40 organizations that focuses on tobacco control in Turkey. SSUK advocated to ensure that the Turkish national tobacco control law passed was strong and comprehensive, and subsequently they have been actively involved in monitoring implementation of the law.
Warning: Uruguay Ministry of Health has been a world leader in implementing pack warnings. Uruguay currently has the largest pack warnings in the world (80% of pack on both front and back). The Ministry of Health has been responsible for implementing the warnings and Uruguay is working to defend these warnings and other tobacco control measures against a lawsuit brought before an international tribunal by a major tobacco company.
Enforcing: Corporate Accountability International Colombia (CAI) and Fundación para la Educación y el Desarrollo Social (FES) were selected for an award because of their joint effort to strengthen implementation and enforcement of Colombia’s newly passed tobacco advertising and sponsorship ban. Together they have worked to strengthen capacity in five major cities in Colombia; conducted trainings, and monitored compliance and reported violations.
Raising tobacco taxes: Egypt’s Ministry of Finance is being recognized for its significant commitment to tobacco taxes including a 100% tax on shisha (a tobacco smoked in a water pipe) and cigarette taxes which now represent over 70% of the pack price for the most popular brand in Egypt and have generated over 2.2 billion USD in government revenue annually.
“We are impressed with and inspired by the work that is going on around the world to fight the tobacco epidemic,” said Kelly Henning, M.D., who heads up global health efforts for Bloomberg Philanthropies. “Their work is saving lives.”
Nominations and selection for the Bloomberg Awards for Global Tobacco Control were completed by a panel of international experts. The 2012 Bloomberg Awards were presented at a public ceremony at the 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Singapore on March 22, 2012. The awards are presented by Bloomberg Philanthropies as part of the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use.
About Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use
Bloomberg Philanthropies works primarily to advance five areas globally: the Arts, Education, the Environment, Government Innovation and Public Health. $330 million was distributed in 2011. The Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use is focused on reducing the public health impact of tobacco use globally by implementing proven tobacco control policies in low- and middle-income countries where 80% of tobacco-related deaths occur.
*As no country is currently performing at a level of excellence in the offering help to smokers to quit category there was no award given in this area.