Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)

Bloomberg Philanthropies 2013 annual update

Tobacco kills nearly 6 million people every year including more than 600 000 non-smokers who die from exposure to tobacco smoke. The World Health Organization (WHO) is working with the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use to build capacity in countries for the fight against the tobacco epidemic globally, improve tobacco surveillance, and advise governments on tobacco control economics and tax measures. WHO also monitors policy progress through its report on the global tobacco epidemic and cooperates with the Bloomberg Initiative in the areas of internal and external relations and grant support.

The Bloomberg Initiative is the result of a commitment by the former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2006 to donate hundreds of millions of dollars towards reducing tobacco use globally. The initiative funds activities to promote tobacco control, with special emphasis on 5 low- and middle-income countries where the majority of the world’s smokers live. These are Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia and Russian Federation.

The Bloomberg Initiative focuses on the following four components:

  • Refine and optimize tobacco control programs to help smokers stop and prevent children and youth from starting tobacco use.
  • Support public sector efforts to pass and enforce key laws and implement effective policies for tobacco control, in particular those that create higher taxes for tobacco products, prevent smuggling, change the image of tobacco, and protect workers from exposure to other people’s smoke.
  • Support advocates’ efforts to educate communities about the harms of tobacco and to enhance tobacco control activities.
  • Develop a rigorous system to monitor the status of global tobacco use.

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