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WHO named as one of five partners to implement Michael Bloomberg's $125 million initiative to promote freedom from smoking

3 November 2006

In August, Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City, announced his commitment to donate US$125 million towards an initiative to end the global tobacco epidemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) is pleased to be one of the five key partners in the initiative and looks forward to working closely with the other partners.

This initiative presents an opportunity to immediately scale up tobacco control efforts in developing countries where the health burden is the highest. Working with other project partners, WHO (through its Tobacco Free Initiative) will play an important leadership role in strengthening tobacco control systems by working to ensure that country level interventions are effective and in line with best evidence and policies.

Specifically, WHO will expand the public-sector support and guidance it already provides to help governments around the world develop national tobacco control plans, pass and enforce key laws and implement effective policies and tobacco control measures. Those measures include tobacco tax increases, advertising bans, mandatory health warning labels and smoking bans, as set out in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), the key international treaty on tobacco control.

WHO will continue to lead the development and setting of international standards on tobacco control, working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation on global surveillance of tobacco use. At the same time, WHO will work with the World Lung Foundation to advance ongoing monitoring activities that measure how effectively tobacco control policies are implemented at the country level.

Mr Bloomberg's generous donation injects valuable momentum into our shared effort to reduce the global burden of disease and death caused by tobacco. WHO welcomes the opportunity to be part of this initiative and looks forward to working with the other project partners.

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is one of the most widely endorsed treaties in UN history, with 140 Parties.

Note to Editors

In addition to the WHO, other partner organizations in the initiative include the Campaign for Tobacco Free-Kids, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the World Lung Foundation.

For more information, please contact:

Marta Seoane
Communications Officer
Tobacco Free Initiative, WHO
Telephone: +41 79 791 2489
Mobile: +41 79 475 5551