List of World No Tobacco Day awardees - 2006
1. Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária (ANVISA), Brazil.
Brazil was the first country in the Americas and one of the first countries in the world to prohibit misleading terminology such as “light” and “low-tar” from appearing on cigarette packages. Brazil is also developing laboratory capacity to test tobacco and tobacco smoke ingredients for countries of the Americas as well as contributing to the development of WHO’s global network of tobacco testing laboratories. These actions will contribute to the development of testing methods for tobacco and tobacco smoke ingredients that more accurately represent what is in the product and what the smoker inhales. ANVISA (National Health Surveillance Agency ) has played a central role in these efforts as the agency of the Ministry of Health that implements and enforces regulations on the tobacco industry and its products.
In addition to its technical role in these areas, ANVISA has become well-known for its aggressive enforcement efforts to ensure compliance with all of Brazil’s tobacco control laws. These actions have included shutting down a “smoking point” established by Souza Cruz (BAT) in Rio de Janeiro’s airport and ensuring that health warnings are displayed on tobacco advertisements at point of sale. ANVISA provides an excellent model for governments in the Americas and worldwide for the monitoring, implementation and enforcement of tobacco control regulations.
2. Dr. Lynn T. Kozlowski, Head, Department of Biobehavioral Health, Pennsylvania State University, United States of America
Dr. Kozlowski has is one of the world’s leading researchers on smokers’ behaviour, knowledge and beliefs regarding low-tar cigarettes. Beginning with his work with Canada’s Addiction Research Foundation and continuing to the present in his position at Penn State University, he has contributed to four U.S. Surgeon General’s reports since 1981 and has published dozens of articles in scientific journals. The focus of his work has been the how “light” and “low-tar” cigarettes are engineered to get lower readings on the smoking machine, beliefs of smokers about low-tar cigarettes, and how to accurately communicate information about products to consumers.
Dr. Kozlowski’s research has provided much of the knowledge that advocates have used to alert smokers and governments to the deception behind low-tar cigarettes and his work has had an impact world-wide. In honour of this year’s WNTD theme, recognizing Dr. Kozlowski’s efforts would be most appropriate.
3. Victor Hugo Durán, Freelance Journalist, Chile
Mr. Victor Hugo Durán is part of a new generation of health journalists taking an active role in promoting the facts about the commercial and other interests influencing many health topics. He has worked for the most influential newspapers in Chile such as La Tercera and more recently El Mercurio. In 2005 El Mercurio fired Durán due in large part to pressure from Chiletabacos, a BAT subsidiary, for exposing the tobacco industry’s unethical marketing tactics and its behind-the-scenes influences to undermine approval of a new comprehensive tobacco control law in Chile.
The law was finally approved in early 2006, to a great extent due to his efforts. The law includes many of Chile’s obligations under the WHO FCTC. Mr Victor Hugo Durán has shown great courage in exposing the tobacco industry's tactics to undermine public health measures and in doing so helped change public perceptions of the industry, which had previously enjoyed popularity among policy makers while carried it out its activities without public scrutiny. Durán’s work has served as an example to other journalists that seek to investigate the tobacco industry in Chile and other countries in the Americas.
4. Dr. Raul Batres , Former Director General , National Institute for Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco Control in Honduras (IHADFA), Honduras
Dr. Raul Batres was until May 2006 the Director General of the National Institute for Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco Control in Honduras (IHADFA), where he served in that position during the last 4 years. A gynaecologist by training, Dr. Batres previously served in various capacities at the Honduras Medical Association.
Under his leadership, IHADFA became a central force in advocating for ratification of the WHO FCTC among colleagues in government, especially among ministries such as trade and industry normally only exposed to information from the tobacco industry. Batres also successfully led the effort to unite government agencies and nongovernmental organizations in promoting tobacco control and WHO FCTC ratification. As director of IHADFA he actively promoted smoke free environment agreements with institutions and municipalities. Furthermore, to implement the WHO FCTC, under his guidance IHADFA drafted legislation to require health warnings covering 50% of all principal surfaces of tobacco packaging and to ban misleading terms such light and mild. The proposed legislation is being discussed in the Honduran Congress.
5. InterAmerican Heart Foundation, USA
The InterAmerican Heart Foundation (IAHF) has contributed enormously to support for and ratification of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) and other tobacco control initiatives over the past several years. IAHF’s network of national heart associations has been instrumental in supporting FCTC ratification in Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Jamaica and Barbados, among others. IAHF has successfully coordinated tobacco control efforts among various NGOs in individual countries and among NGOs across the region, facilitating “virtual tobacco control communities” at the Latin American (CLACCTA) and Caribbean (FCTC Caribbean Coalition) level.
IAHF has collaborated with PAHO in many of its activities and has been very sensitive to the need to get NGOs working with governments whenever possible. Its approach truly exemplifies “Pan Americanism” and has been vital to information and strategy exchange across the region, and among NGOs, PAHO and governments.