Bloomberg Philanthropies commits $360 million in new grant to reduce tobacco use
Senior Correspondent bdnews24.com
Published: 2016-12-06 01:41:58.0 BdST Updated: 2016-12-06 02:10:20.0 BdST
Bloomberg Philanthropies has announced a new grant of $360 million to global anti-tobacco efforts.
The grant supports evidence-based policies to curb tobacco use and works to increase awareness of the dangers of tobacco in low and middle-income countries, it said in a statement on Monday from New York.
The new round of funding raises Bloomberg’s total giving on this public health initiative to nearly $1 billion and builds on ten years of support for the implementation of tobacco control laws and policies around the world through the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use.
To date the initiative has successfully supported 59 countries including Bangladesh in passing laws or policies, reaching nearly 3.5 billion people and saving an estimated 30 million lives.
The additional funds will enable tobacco control advocates and public health officials to expand and accelerate effective ‘MPOWER’ policy strategies to Monitor tobacco use, protect the public with smoke-free laws, offer help to quit smoking, warn about the dangers of tobacco use through pack labels and public awareness campaigns, enforce advertising bans, and raise taxes on tobacco.
“Reducing tobacco use is one of our greatest opportunities to save lives and prevent suffering, because we know that strong policies really do make a difference,” Michael Bloomberg said while announcing the new grant.
“Since we began working ten years ago to pass effective tobacco measures around the world, global sales of cigarettes have declined after a century of steadily increasing,” the former New York mayor said.
“The tide is turning on tobacco, but we still have a long way to go – especially in low- and middle-income countries that are home to 75% of the world’s smokers and where tobacco companies are working harder than ever to find new customers.”
Tobacco use is a significant contributor to life-threatening, noncommunicable diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease and stroke.
As the recently appointed World Health Organization Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) and a strong advocate for tobacco control, Michael R Bloomberg’s leadership aims to help governments address both tobacco control and prevent premature deaths related to tobacco use.
The NCDs account for 68 percent of global deaths outpacing deaths associated with other global killers.
“Investing in tobacco control can help keep those people alive and healthy. I am delighted that Michael Bloomberg is bringing his business expertise to work with the WHO and public health community to beat the tobacco industry, one of the greatest health threats our society faces.”
Vital Strategies, a global health not-for profit organisation, hailed the new grant announcement said this was an “extraordinary” contribution – of nearly a billion dollars - to combat the primary cause of preventable illness and premature death, of our time.
“For the past nine years, Bloomberg’s global funding for tobacco control has enabled countries around the world, and organizations such as Vital Strategies, to help implement proven tobacco control strategies that have the greatest impact,” José Luis Castro, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vital Strategies said in a statement.
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