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Bloomberg Philanthropies Recognizes Governments and NGOs For Outstanding Work in Ending Tobacco Use

Government and non-governmental organizations from Vietnam, El Salvador, Mexico, Senegal, Uganda, and Argentina honored for their success in fighting the tobacco epidemic

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the winners of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards for Global Tobacco Control which celebrate the significant strides made by organizations implementing anti-tobacco policies in low and middle-income countries. He made the announcement at the 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health.

“Congratulations to all of the winners for their outstanding work, which is saving lives every day,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, WHO’s Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases. “Over the last decade the global effort to fight tobacco use has come farther than almost anyone imagined possible – but we will have a long way to go, and these honorees are helping to lead the way forward.”

Each year, nearly 7 million people are killed by tobacco, more than are killed by alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders, and suicide deaths combined. Since 2003, Michael R. Bloomberg has led the fight for tobacco control across the globe starting when he championed the Smoke Free Air Act banning smoking in bars and restaurants in New York City, inspiring many other cities to adopt similar measures. Through Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use works with organizations across the globe to implement policies in low and middle-income countries where 80% of tobacco-related deaths occur.

The six chosen honorees highlight the tangible progress to control tobacco and represent the effectiveness of the MPOWER policies, a group of effective demand-reduction tobacco control policies. One award was given in each of the MPOWER categories. MPOWER categories include: Monitoring tobacco use and prevention policies; Protecting people from tobacco smoke with smoke-free air legislation; Offering help to quit tobacco use; Warning about the dangers of tobacco with pack labels and mass media; Enforcing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and Raising taxes on tobacco.

The 2018 Bloomberg Philanthropies Award winners are:

  • Monitoring: Ministry of Health Vietnam has shown excellent leadership in tobacco surveillance and monitoring by conducting two rounds of adult tobacco surveys (GATS) and three rounds of youth tobacco surveys (GYTS). In addition, the country has monitored tobacco use in special populations by integrating tobacco questions in surveys focused on special populations (for example, a labor force survey).
    Watch the Ministry of Health’s video here
  • Protecting: Fondo Solidario para la Salud (FOSALUD) de El Salvador As a result of FOSALUD’s leadership, El Salvador passed comprehensive smoke-free legislation in 2015. FOSALUD conducted evidence gathering to support advocacy for passage of the law and activated the international community when tobacco industry interference became evident.
    Watch FOSALUD de El Salvador’s video here
  • Offering help to quit: Fundación Interamericana del Corazón México FIC Mexico worked closely with the Mexican government to develop a strategy to broaden the availability of evidence-based tobacco dependence treatment. They worked with 10 government institutions, along with clinical experts, to develop and implement national guidelines. Health care professionals received support by extending staffing capacity and making treatment more readily available to Mexican citizens.
    Watch FIC Mexico’s video here
  • Warning: Ministry of Health Senegal The National Assembly of Senegal adopted one of the strongest tobacco control laws in Africa which includes smoke-free provisions, advertising bans, and prohibits industry interference, but the most prominent measure remains the pack warnings. The law requires that tobacco product packages must display a combination of text and picture health warnings on at least 70 percent of each principal display area. Misleading packaging and labelling, including terms such as “light” and “low tar” are prohibited.
    Watch the Ministry of Health’s video here
  • Enforcing: Uganda National Health Consumers’ Organization Uganda enacted a very strong and comprehensive tobacco control bill in 2015. While the law is very comprehensive, the tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS) measures are particularly strong and represent best practices in that they completely ban all forms, methods, and means of domestic and cross-border TAPS. The Ugandan civil society organizations, through their well-coordinated advocacy and communications efforts, played a crucial role getting the bill enacted into law.
    Watch UNCHO’s video here
  • Raising tobacco taxes: Ministry of Health, Ministry of Treasury Argentina, and FIC The Argentinian Government, under the leadership of the Ministry of Treasury and the Ministry of Health, strongly supported by the Inter-American Heart Foundation (FIC), approved a tax of 75% on national and imported cigarettes in May 2016. The three entities worked closely together to run a model campaign using a variety of strategies and sought to emphasize the link between tobacco taxes as both an economic measure as well as a public health policy to reduce tobacco consumption.
    Watch Ministry of Health, Ministry of Treasury, and FIC video here

“Organizations like this year’s MPOWER award winners are helping us fight and win the battle against Big Tobacco,” said Dr. Kelly Henning, Director of Public Health Programs at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “Their citizens and constituents will be reaping the reward of their efforts for generations to come, and we hope that by showcasing these awardees’ successes others may be inspired to follow suit and take action in their own countries.”

The Bloomberg Awards for Global Tobacco Control were first hosted in 2009 at the 14th World Health Conference on Tobacco or Health in Mumbai and most recently in 2015 when the 16th Conference was held in Abu Dhabi.

In 2009, the four Bloomberg Awards winners were:

  • M: Environmental Right Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria
  • P: Mexico City Secretary of Health
  • W: Action on Smoking and Health Thailand
  • E: Coalición Panameña contra el Tabaquismo

In 2012, the Bloomberg Awards winners were:

  • M: Health Justice Philippines
  • P: Turkish National Coalition on Tobacco or Health
  • W: Uruguay Ministry of Health
  • E: Corporate Accountability International Colombia and Fundacion para la Educacion y el Desarrollo Social
  • R: Egyptian Ministry of Finance

In 2015, the Bloomberg Award winners were:

  • M: Brazil Ministry of Health and National Institute of Statistics
  • P: Regional Advocacy Life Center (Ukraine)
  • O: Uruguay Ministry of Health
  • W: Nepal Ministry of Health and Population
  • R: Philippines Department of Finance and Department of Health

The award was designed by Francis Kéré, a German-trained architect from Burkina Faso. Kéré represents socially responsible architecture and is known for his focus on participation, innovative use of material and sustainability. In 2005 he founded the office Kéré Architecture in Berlin, which has been recognized nationally and internationally with awards and major commissions including the Serpentine Galleries Pavilion in London. His sculpture for the 2018 Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards for Global Tobacco Control combines wood and brass, a sustainable and a recyclable material. The organic shape of the trophy reinterprets traditional African carving techniques and is complemented by a brass ring that surrounds the log like a medal honoring the recipients’ engagement.

Click here for the event livestream, click here for photos from the award ceremony, and click here for photos of the 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health.

For more information on the Awards and winning organizations, visit:

Follow the Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards for Global Tobacco Control and the 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health on Twitter with the hashtag #WCTOH2018.

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About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies works in over 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2017, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $702 million. For more information, please visit or follow us on FacebookInstagramSnapchat, and Twitter.

Contact: Jean Weinberg,, +1 212-205-0247