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Michael Bloomberg Announces Grantees of $125 Million Initiative to Promote Freedom from Smoking

Michael R. Bloomberg today named the five key partner organizations, which will implement his initiative, coordinating activities and providing grants to other organizations to promote freedom from smoking. The partners are the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the World Health Organization, and the World Lung Foundation. Bloomberg’s $125 million, two-year contribution is many times larger than any prior donation for global tobacco control and more than doubles the global total of private and public donor resources devoted to fighting tobacco use in developing countries, where more than two thirds of the world’s smokers live. All of the resources are dedicated outside the United States to specifically benefit low- and middle-income countries.

“New York City has had tremendous success reducing tobacco use,” Bloomberg said. “As a result, there are nearly 200,000 fewer smokers in the city today than there were 4 years ago. If that kind of progress can be made on a global scale, we can save many millions of lives. This initiative will focus on getting results — reducing tobacco use by proven means.”

The five partner organizations will implement and coordinate activities to help stop the epidemic of tobacco use, working in partnership and close coordination with other organizations involved in international tobacco control. The four components of the initiative are listed below.

1. Refine and optimize tobacco control programs to help smokers stop and prevent children from starting. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health will work with the other partners to improve tobacco control interventions in addition to expanding its work in China.

2. Support public sector efforts to pass and enforce key laws and implement effective policies, in particular to tax cigarettes, prevent smuggling, change the image of tobacco, and protect workers from exposure to other people’s smoke. Through the World Lung Foundation and World Health Organization, this component will strengthen tobacco control systems globally and in key countries, establish a global clearinghouse for anti-tobacco health education, and support the Framework Convention Alliance, an existing alliance of organizations to advocate for effective implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, a key international treaty to reduce tobacco use. This component will also include continuation of a project Bloomberg began funding last year to establish a global tobacco control policy monitoring system that tracks the status and progress of implementation of effective tobacco control measures.

3. Support advocates’ efforts to educate communities about the harms of tobacco and to enhance tobacco control activities so as to help make the world tobacco-free. The  Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids will establish a Global Resource Center on Freedom From Tobacco to provide accurate public information on tobacco use and effective tobacco control interventions and to assist advocates around the world with resources and technical assistance to achieve policy change.

4. Develop a rigorous system to monitor the status of global tobacco use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation will work with partners around the world, particularly at the World Health Organization, and in high-burden countries, to establish systematic, standardized global monitoring of the tobacco epidemic.

As part of this Initiative, a competitively awarded grant program for organizations in low- and middle-income countries will accelerate progress toward freedom from tobacco. Priority will be given to high-burden countries, particularly China, India, Indonesia, Russia, and Bangladesh, which together account for about half the world’s smokers. Grants are expected to be in the $50,000 – $500,000 range for up to 2 years. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the World Lung Foundation (working with International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease) will work together to coordinate and administer the grant program. Interested organizations and individuals should contact these two partner organizations directly for grant guidelines and applications, which will be available before December 1, 2006.

“Mr. Bloomberg’s generous donation injects valuable momentum into our shared effort to reduce the global burden of disease and death caused by tobacco,” Dr Anders Nordström, Acting Director-General of WHO. “WHO welcomes the opportunity to be part of this initiative and looks forward to working with the other project partners.”

“The initiative funded by Michael Bloomberg provides an historic opportunity to reduce the number of people who will die from tobacco use,” Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Given the projection that one billion people will die from tobacco use worldwide in this century if current trends continue, the Bloomberg initiative has the potential to save literally millions of lives. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is honored and grateful to be one of the five coordinating organizations for this project.”

“CDC and the CDC Foundation are deeply honored to be a partner in this initiative to provide freedom from smoking,” says Charles Stokes, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “This initiative represents the first time that a coalition of public and private sector organizations has been empowered to implement a unified strategy to address the global tobacco epidemic. Michael Bloomberg’s vision and personal commitment in launching this project will no doubt result in many lives saved.”

“Mayor Bloomberg’s historic donation to support global tobacco control efforts responds to an acute need for implementation of effective tobacco control initiatives, such as tax increases, creation of smoke-free areas, and bans of advertising, enforcement of existing anti-tobacco laws, and monitoring in countries with the highest rates of tobacco consumption,” said James de Viel Castel, President of the World Lung Foundation. “Governmental agencies and nongovernmental organizations in developing countries struggle with few public health resources, and citizens have little knowledge about the harmful economic and health effects of tobacco.”

“This private initiative is visionary and will prevent deaths in countries that are at the greatest need,” said Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Background on tobacco and anti-tobacco initiatives:
• There are more than 1 billion smokers in the world today (about 20% of the world’s population and more than 1 in 4 adults) and tobacco kills more people than any other single agent.
• Five countries (China, India, Indonesia, Russia, and Bangladesh) account for half of all smokers globally.
• Smoking kills at least a third of current smokers, and many more will develop serious illness because of tobacco. Those killed by tobacco lose on average 10-15 years of life. Secondhand smoke causes lung disease, cancer, low birth weight and increased infant death as well as other problems in those exposed.
• Globally, nearly 5 million people are killed by tobacco each year, and with current trends that number will double to 10 million. In this century, unless urgent action is taken, more than 1 billion people will be killed by tobacco.
• The effectiveness of tobacco control interventions is well established; implementing these programs can reduce rates of smoking where they are high and prevent an increase where rates are low.
• New York City’s tobacco control program has 5 key components: raising the tobacco tax, making virtually all workplaces smoke-free, running hard-hitting public education campaigns, helping smokers quit, and rigorously monitoring smoking rates and program results