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 tobacco control policies in low and middle-income countries. He made the announcement at the 16th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Abu Dhabi.
“People in every part of the world are doing great work to reduce tobacco use and protect public health, and these awards celebrate some of the very best of those efforts. Every day we’re making more progress – and every step forward means many more lives saved and illnesses prevented,” said Michael R. Bloomberg. “We still have a long way to go, especially in developing countries where tobacco companies are focusing their advertising and trying to obstruct efforts to inform people about the dangers of their products. Each of these honorees has shown great leadership and commitment to this fight, and they set a strong example for others as we continue our work together.”
Each year, nearly 5 million people –14,000 every day – are killed by tobacco, more than are killed by any other single agent. Since 2003, Michael R. Bloomberg has led the fight for tobacco control across the globe starting when he signed the Smoke Free Air Act banning smoking in bars and restaurants in New York City, inspiring many other cities to adopt similar measures. The Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use works with organizations to implement policies in low and middle-income countries where 80% of tobacco-related deaths occur.
The six chosen honorees highlight the tangible progress being made to control tobacco and represent the effectiveness of the MPOWER method, considered the most effective demand-reduction tobacco control policies. One award will be given in each of the MPOWER categories. MPOWER is a proven theory of tobacco control strategies categories: 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 2015 Bloomberg Philanthropies Award winners are:
- Monitoring: Brazil Ministry of Health and National Institute of Statistics(Portuguese acronym: IBGE) Brazil implemented the Global Adult Tobacco Survey in 2008, the first country to do so in the Americas. They subsequently introduced these tobacco measures into their existing national survey, creating strong technical capacity to monitor tobacco control.
- Protecting: Regional Advocacy Life Center (“LIFE”) led and coordinated support for the 2012 countrywide smoke-free law and comprehensive anti-tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship bill. In December 2013, LIFE conducted a nationwide monitoring of the law’s compliance finding a 90% rate across Kiev and 10 other Ukrainian cities and finding a 9% rate of violations.
- Offering help to quit: Uruguay Ministry of Health has been a leader in global tobacco control for nearly a decade. In 2008, the new Tobacco Control law mandated all healthcare providers offer cessation support. The country properly approaches cessation support in a strategic, sustainable, accessible and affordable way with 19 states now providing support. They have also prioritized this step in the MPOWER strategy appropriately by emphasizing it once the other pieces were effectively in place.
- Warning: Nepal Ministry of Health and Population passed the comprehensive law comprised of large graphic health warnings, bans on tobacco advertising and sponsorships, and a smoke-free law all while facing immense pressure from the tobacco industry. During the process of passing the law and after its passing, the Ministry of Health faced 16 court cases filed by the tobacco industry but won with currently two appeals pending. Nepal is a leader in the South East Asia region for its tobacco control efforts.
- Enforcing: KONFOP (Russian acronym) was a leader in the passage of the 2013 tobacco control legislation in Russia and saved the TAPS (tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship) provision by using government contacts to gain access to documents from tobacco industry and then leaked those to their contacts in the media. The 2013 law in Russia is among the strongest comprehensive tobacco control legislation in the world.
- Raising tobacco taxes: Philippines Department of Finance and Department of Health played a critical role in passing the Sin Tax Law in 2012, which made it more efficient to raise the tobacco tax by simplifying the country’s tax structure. The Department of Financehas stood strongly for tax increases vocalizing their support to the media and congress while fighting strong opposition and interference by the tobacco industry since the law’s passing.The Philippines is also expanding universal healthcare across the country to improve public health.
“We celebrate the impressive work of these organizations and the progress across the world in reducing tobacco use,” said Kelly Henning, M.D., Director of Public Health Programs at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “Their efforts are truly notable as they make tangible progress to save lives.”
Honorees are chosen by a confidential committee of international tobacco control experts and then reviewed by Bloomberg Philanthropies. The Bloomberg Awards for Global Tobacco Control was first hosted in 2009 at the 14th World Health Conference on Tobacco and or Health in Mumbai and then again in 2012 when the 15th Conference was held in Singapore.
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
The award was designed by Mark Handforth, a Miami-based artist widely known for his monumental sculptural installations of public objects, including lampposts, fire hydrants, stop signs, and stars that alter our expectations of everyday urban infrastructure. Handforth’s bold style and unusual artworks reference both pop art and surrealism. His work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, and the Hessel Museum at Bard College in New York.