List of World No Tobacco Day awardees - 2006
Director-General Special awards
1. Honorable Dr. Tabaré Vázquez, President, Oriental Republic of Uruguay
Uruguay has recently moved into the forefront of leaders in tobacco control in the Region of the Americas and in the world. President Tabaré Vázquez, an oncologist by training, has provided strong personal leadership for Uruguay’s tobacco control initiatives in the face of strong tobacco industry opposition. He has actively promoted Uruguay’s tobacco control policies in the media, worked to garner multi-party support in Congress for the measures and engaged civil society to actively educate and solicit support from the public. He has travelled to other MERCOSUR countries to provide support for the implementation of similar measures in those countries, for example inaugurating an international tobacco control meeting in Buenos Aires with the Minister of Health from Argentina. Through President Vázquez’s personal efforts to create the model that Uruguay has provided for the rest of the region, Uruguay’s tobacco control measures have had and will continue to have a wide ranging impact on public health.
From a country that just three years ago had very few public policies addressing tobacco, Uruguay has accomplished what many said could never be achieved in Latin America: it became smoke-free on March 1, 2006, the first country in the Americas to do. Just a month later, it began requiring all tobacco products sold in the country to carry one of eight hard-hitting, image-based health warnings on half of each of the main faces of the packaging. These messages are among the most innovative in the world. Many of them focus on the harm caused by secondhand smoke, reinforcing the new, successful smoke-free law.
2. Dr Homer Wei-Kwok Tso, Chairman, Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health, Hong Kong
Dr Homer Wei-Kwok Tso, BBS, JP has contributed to public health in Hong Kong through his outstanding works in the realm of tobacco control. Dr Tso has been appointed as member and Chairman of Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health (COSH) since 1996 and 2002 respectively. He has been a major driver in local community for supporting legislative amendments on tobacco control measures. Public support for smoking ban in indoor restaurants and workplaces is more than 70%. Through his leadership, COSH has been a strong partner of the Government of Hong Kong in keeping the smoking prevalence of Hong Kong below 15%. Under his chairmanship, COSH has been using a multi-pronged approach to combat tobacco use in Hong Kong, encompassing advocacy, publicity and health education to the public. He is an outstanding leader and veteran advocate in the work of tobacco control in Hong Kong.