At Bloomberg Philanthropies, we are working to create healthier, safer lives for the greatest number of people. Reversing the global tobacco epidemic is a key component of this work. If left unchecked, tobacco use will kill a billion people this century, with more than 80% of those deaths occurring in the world’s developing nations.
Solutions do exist. In 2007, we partnered with the World Health Organization to package and promote six proven policies to reduce tobacco use — including protecting people from tobacco smoke, offering help to quit, raising awareness about the dangers of tobacco through warning labels and public education campaigns, enforcing tobacco advertising bans, and raising the price of tobacco products. The science is clear: employ these approaches and smoking rates fall. That’s why, through strategic partnerships and a $375 million investment, we’re helping governments implement these interventions in low- and middle-income countries that are home to the majority of the world’s smokers.
In just a few short years, as this report will show, this work and the work of our partners have already had a huge impact. Almost four billion people worldwide are protected by at least one of the six proven tobacco control policies, and momentum continues to build. In the first half of 2011 alone, Argentina became the eighth nation in Latin America to go smoke-free, and Harbin City in China passed its nation’s strongest tobacco control legislation to date. That said, the battle is far from over, and we look forward to continued success around the world.