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WHO welcomes Bloomberg global contribution to tobacco control

16 August 2006

The World Health Organization (WHO) welcomes the announcement that Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, will contribute US$125 million to a new Worldwide Stop Smoking Initiative. This contribution will help to end the tobacco epidemic, and translate the principles of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control into real action and implementation on the ground.

"Tobacco use currently kills about five million people every year, and the number will be doubled if the current trend continues," said Dr Anders Nordström, Acting Director-General of WHO. "However, there is now a global momentum to reverse that, with many countries both wealthy and poor taking action to restrict tobacco use, and support those who need help stopping. This contribution will help to increase this momentum." Through policy guidelines, global monitoring and technical support to government decision makers and legislators, WHO supports country-level efforts to pass and implement effective legislation that increases tobacco tax, bans tobacco advertising, makes health warning labels mandatory on tobacco products, prevents cigarette smuggling and protects the public from exposure to tobacco smoke through bans that create 100% smoke-free environments.

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is one of the most widely endorsed treaties in UN history, with more than 130 countries having ratified.

"Recently, philanthropists have announced major contributions that will directly benefit global public health," added Dr Nordström. "The World Health Organization welcomes this movement, which stands to save and improve millions of lives."

For more information contact:

Joel Schaefer
Technical Officer
Communications Tobacco Free Initiative, WHO
Telephone: +41 22 791 44 73