Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)

List of World No Tobacco Day awardees - 2006

EURO nominations

1. Elena Salgado Méndez, Minister of Health, Spain

Elena Salgado, Spain’s Minister of Health, is nominated for the award for putting tobacco on the high political agenda, making it one of the main objectives of her mandate. Ms Salgado became Minister of Health in mid-2004, and in roughly a year and a half her political commitment to push for tobacco control brought Spain, a country with a deep-rooted tradition of tobacco use, an anti-tobacco law in December 2005. The emphasis of the law is the protection of the population from tobacco smoke. Smoking is banned in public places as well as in the workplace, one of the pioneering examples in Europe. The law also has provisions to improve control of the supply and demand of tobacco.

Ms Salgado’s passion for this cause meant that tobacco control became a government priority, earning the support of the President and Vice-president. This encouraged various members of the government to quit smoking (including the Vice-President) and her enthusiasm for expanding smoke-free areas led her to open a healthy debate among all Spaniards, which later helped build consensus for the new law. Her commitment served to overcome many obstacles to the legislation (opposition by various interest groups, such as restaurant and bar owners, unions, business organizations, etc.) and she was able to obtain agreement from different parliamentary groups, all of whom voted for the law.

2. Dr Wim Vleeming, Pharmacologist, Netherlands

Dr Wim Vleeming, a pharmacologist, was the first leader of the research unit on tobacco products (ingredients, combustion products, toxic and addictive properties of tobacco products) within RIVM (National Institute of Public Health and the Environment) from 2000 till 2005.

In this capacity, Dr Vleeming gave the unit its current profile, which is much appreciated by international organizations like the EU and WHO.

Dr Vleeming’s knowledge on tobacco products within the RIVM has been of much value to the Dutch State in its court case on tobacco ingredients with tobacco companies.

3. The Republican Centre of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Public Health, Belarus

Belarus was one of the first countries in CIS to ratify the WHO FCTC, and the role of the Republican Centre of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Public Health was highly instrumental in providing support to this process. The Centre has also prepared the draft tobacco control law and the plan of implementation of WHO FCTC for governmental approval. The institution has also had a long-standing leading role in national capacity building, intersectoral links and advocacy work for tobacco control in Belarus. The Centre also made a substantial contribution to capacity building for tobacco control internationally by organizing a large intergovernmental meeting for CIS countries in cooperation with EURO.

4. Ms Ingrid Talu, Teachers Against Tobacco, Sweden

Ingrid Talu is a social science teacher in Uppsala, Sweden. She co-founded Teachers Against Tobacco in 1995 and since then has served as the NGO’s chairperson. She has since the early 1990-ties worked unwearyingly to promote tobacco control at the local and national level in several ways by:

  • fostering her students to alert them to the tobacco issue ‘in any form or disguise’ and giving them practical tools to influence society through street demonstrations, writing articles in the newspapers and visiting parliament and decision makers;
  • constantly fighting for a credible tobacco policy in schools and in the local community as an important basis for all activities;
  • raising awareness of the responsibility of local stores and national store chains in the way they market tobacco products;
  • trying to get tobacco and health promotion at large as part of the curriculum in pre- and postgraduate training of teachers;
  • successfully advocating to ban cross-boarder advertising of oral smokeless tobacco in Scandinavian Airline’s in-flight magazine;
  • establishing a cooperation with teachers in Eastern European countries concerning not only tobacco but also sustainable development.
5. European Network of Quitlines

The European Network of Quitlines (ENQ) is an initiative aimed at maximising collaboration between all European Union member countries in tobacco control and smoking cessation. The ENQ was formally launched in September 2001 on a conference held in Barcelona, Spain. The network is a European Union funded initiative in association with the European Network of Smoking Prevention.

In 2001 the network grew from 6 to 15 members and now extended to 25 members strong network. ENQ has:

  • promoted and supported European Quitlines as a public health intervention that was clinically and cost effective in helping European smokers in quitting successfully.
  • shared continuously expertise and experience and disseminated evidence-based and shared best practice.
  • raised the quality of services throughout Europe by establishing standards in smoking cessation counselling, assisting those wishing to establish new Quitlines, built upon the Network’s success of the first three years and extended the development and promotion of quality standards throughout the European Network of Quitlines.
  • evaluated the effectiveness of the Quitlines operating throughout Europe, assessed which factors influence success, and found out what kind of assistance is sought (and received) by what kind of smokers.
  • established the evidence base for the clinical and cost effectiveness of Quitlines as an essential component of a comprehensive tobacco control programme.