Reducing Tobacco Use
Today, one in ten deaths around the world is caused by tobacco use. Over the past decade, Bloomberg Philanthropies has invested $1.1 billion to fight tobacco use, working with a global network of partners to prevent tobacco-related illnesses and save lives.
Most tobacco-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, areas that are targets of intensive tobacco industry marketing. Tobacco can also be deadly for non-smokers. Secondhand tobacco smoke contributes to heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. Unless urgent action is taken, tobacco will continue to kill more people every year.
The scale of this human tragedy is preventable. The tobacco industry is fighting to ensure the dangers of their product are concealed, but we are fighting back.
The Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use is helping cities and countries implement measures that are proven to reduce use and protect people from harm, including smoke-free public places, banning tobacco advertising, increasing tax on tobacco products, requiring graphic warnings on cigarette packaging, and mass-media public awareness campaigns. Currently, the initiative spans more than 110 low- and middle-income countries — including China and India, which together account for nearly 40% of the world’s smokers.
For decades, major tobacco companies have misled the public through deceptive marketing and outright falsehoods about the safety of their products — including new efforts to promote e-cigarettes as a safe alternative to tobacco. To counter those efforts and protect the public, Bloomberg Philanthropies launched the Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products (STOP) initiative in 2018.
Tobacco companies are working hard to prevent countries from passing laws that reduce use and save lives — especially low- and middle-income countries that often can’t afford to dedicate significant resources to expensive and lengthy legal battles. Established in 2015 with backing from Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Anti-Tobacco Trade Litigation Fund fights the tobacco industry’s use of international trade agreements and litigation to prevent countries from passing strong tobacco-control laws.
Youth vaping has become an epidemic, with 5 million high school youth using e-cigarettes — an increase of 135% from 2017. The initiative Protect Kids: Fight Flavored E-Cigarettes aims to combat this epidemic and push leaders to act. No amount of nicotine is safe for kids. While teen smoking has fallen drastically (by more than 80%) over the last 20 years, a new generation is at risk of becoming addicted to nicotine through e-cigarettes.
Top photo: The Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use is helping cities and countries implement measures that are proven to reduce use. Photo credit: Shutterstock