Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)

List of World No Tobacco Day awardees - 2006

WPRO nominations

1. Adventist Development and Relief Agency's Tobacco or Health, Cambodia

ADRA Cambodia’s Tobacco or Health is the leading nongovernmental organization working on tobacco control in Cambodia since 1996 that focuses on tobacco education, cessation programme, advocacy, and research. It is recognized as one of the most effective agencies to provide awareness on tobacco use and to reduce smoking prevalence in Cambodia. The programme has developed various smoking cessation tools which are widely used in the country such as Khmer Quit Now booklet, quit counselling booklets, and different kinds of posters and brochures. These tools have prevented thousands of youth from smoking through education and curriculum, and have helped thousands of smokers to quit. To date, there are more than 3 000 smokers who have successfully quitted.

The Tobacco or Health programme of ADRA Cambodia has been actively involved in law development and implementation. The programme was involved in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) since it was negotiated in Geneva, Switzerland, especially the process of advocacy for Royal Government of Cambodia to sign and ratify. The country ratified the WHO FCTC on 15 November 2005, and it is part of the programme advocacy. Within the country, indoors smoking ban policies from the five government ministries have been developed and implemented by the programme advocacy.

2. Dr Yang Gonghuan, Deputy Director, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention

In May 2002, Dr Yang organized "The National Conference on Tobacco Control Policy Development in China in the 21st Century" - the first meeting to discuss the tobacco control strategy in China. She wrote and proposed key elements for a national plan of action on tobacco control in China as draft to be discussed by foreign and domestic experts. Dr Yang also persuaded the Chinese Government to be more active in tobacco control through advocacy and debate with the Chinese Tobacco Monopolization Company. She was an expert and active member of the Chinese delegation on the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) negotiations.

Since 1991, she cooperated with Sir Richard Peto (Oxford University) in organizing the cohort study on relationship between disease and tobacco use in 250,000 people. The study was the first one completed in the developing country and the findings proved to be significant to tobacco control. The results of her 1996 national survey of tobacco use were widely quoted as authoritative data, and the findings were important references for Chinese governments' policy-making. Dr Yang was awarded the second rank of reward of scientific and technological achievements by National Council of Science in 1998.

3. Ms Bae Keum-Ja, Attorney At Law, Republic of Korea

Keum-Ja Bae is an Attorney At Law currently leading the tobacco litigation against KT&G, a major Korean tobacco company. In South Korea, there are total of three tobacco litigation in progress, and she is representing all three litigations. In 1999, Ms Bae initiated the tobacco litigation for the first time in Korea. Through the litigation, harmful effects of tobacco were widely publicized, and her work has led to significantly increased regulations on tobacco. She was formerly a civil right activist, and in 1998 during her LLM program at Harvard Law School she wrote her thesis under the title “Applying American Tobacco Litigation Theories in Korea.” Shortly after her return to South Korea, she began the first tobacco litigation. The case has remained at the district court level for the last seven years, and has not reached a judgment. However, the seven years of litigation has put considerable pressure on tobacco companies and contributed to widespread increase in anti-smoking campaign. In South Korea, the tobacco litigation takes on the aspect of public interest litigation and is helping to reshape public opinion on tobacco.

4. Ms Lou Leon Guerrero, Former Senator, Guam

Former Senator Lou Leon Guerrero, spearheaded a law in 2003 that raised tobacco taxes on Guam by 1400%. Despite strong opposition, she championed the Bill and ensured its passage. To ensure that the tax monies were earmarked for health-related programmes, she passed a legislation creating two funds where tobacco and alcohol taxes are channeled: “The Healthy Futures Fund” and “The Safe Homes Safe Streets Fund.” She was instrumental in appropriating tobacco settlement monies from the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) to the Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse (DMHSA) and the Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) for prevention and early intervention programmes. These funds established the only island-wide free cessation counseling service, launched campaigns and capacity building for effective tobacco control interventions, research/surveillance.

When all previous attempts have failed, the “Natasha Act,” (which she authored) was enacted in December 2005 which bans smoking in restaurants and mandates strict limitations in bars. She participated in the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Guam, which addressed and planned a comprehensive tobacco control programme. She was also an active Advisory Committee member of APPEAL (Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership), that effectively addresses tobacco use and its adverse health consequences to the community.

5. Nabila Village, Fiji

Nabila village elders has always adopted tobacco free policies in the village and has also undertaken its own policing of the tobacco free initiatives. Through empowerment from the visitors, Nabila village honoured its commitment through a traditional ceremony where the elders of the village convinced their people that there was no other way to healthy living but to totally disregard and ban tobacco in any form or guise. Despite the challenges they encountered with the people, the elders of the village stood their ground and applied the Fijian disciplinary mechanism. Three years later, the people accepted the initiative as a norm and the villagers were expected to carry the tradition wherever they went.

When last visited by Ministry of Health staff in 2005, the villagers requested that a billboard be erected at the junction of the main highway leading to their village that would read ‘TOBACCO FREE VILLAGE – NABILA. This was made possible by the generous assistance of WHO. Since then, other neighbouring villages had been made aware of the adverse health effects of tobacco and adopted the same tobacco free initiative policies in their own villages .