Bloomberg Pledges $220M in Fight Against Tobacco Use

By webadmin on 04:37 pm Mar 23, 2012
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Anita Rachman

Singapore. New York City Mayor and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg announced on Thursday evening at the World Conference on Tobacco Health in Singapore that Bloomberg Philanthropies will commit an additional $220 million to the global fight against tobacco use, especially in low- and middle-income countries where 80 percent of the world’s smokers live, including Indonesia.

The additional funding, set over a four-year commitment, will make Bloomberg’s total contribution equal to more than $600 million.

“I am pleased to announce today that I am making a new commitment to global tobacco control. Bloomberg Philanthropies will commit $220 million over the next four years for these [tobacco use] fights,” Bloomberg told around 2,600 delegates from 100 countries at the conference, who welcomed his announcement with applause and a standing ovation.

Bloomberg told the audience that he is not going to walk away from the fight against tobacco use, and that all efforts should focus on several areas, including encouraging the government to raise tobacco taxes and educating citizens about the dangers of tobacco use.

The commitment will allow the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use to assist government and non-governmental organizations in implementing measures to reduce tobacco use.

The Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, which was launched six years ago, has been working with partners including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the National Foundation for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation and the World Health Organization.

The new four-year commitment is also expected to accelerate efforts in exposing and countering the relentless efforts of tobacco companies in targeting low- and middle-income countries.

Indonesia, along with several other countries including China, India, Russia and Bangladesh, will continue to receive support because these countries experience the largest burden of tobacco use.

Other efforts include tobacco industry monitoring as well as litigation and advocacy support to challenge the tobacco industry’s efforts to stop any policies levied against them.

The fourth edition of the Tobacco Atlas, published by American Cancer Society and World Lung Foundation, was launched at the conference and suggests that if current trends in tobacco use continue, one billion lives will be lost to tobacco use in the 21st century.