Michael Bloomberg’s Unprecedented Leadership in Global Tobacco Fight Will Save Millions of Lives

Statement of Matthew L. Myers President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Aug. 15 2006

Washington, DC — In announcing today that he is personally donating $125 million to the global fight to reduce tobacco use, Michael R. Bloomberg brings unprecedented leadership, commitment and resources to combating an epidemic that is projected to kill one billion people worldwide this century. Through the farsighted policies Mr. Bloomberg has championed as Mayor, including the smoke-free workplace law, a high tobacco tax and tobacco prevention and cessation programs, New York City has shown the world that it is possible to quickly and dramatically reduce tobacco use and its devastating consequences. Mr. Bloomberg’s leadership and generosity will make it possible to spread these proven solutions around the world and save millions of lives.

Tobacco use killed one hundred million people in the 20th century, and if current trends continue, it will claim one billion lives in the 21st century. In the coming decades, 70 percent of these deaths will be in developing countries. However, if adult cigarette consumption is cut in half worldwide, we can prevent more than 300 million deaths from tobacco in the next 50 years. Tobacco prevention measures are highly cost-effective. International public health leaders earlier this year identified higher tobacco taxes as one of the “best health buys” for developing countries – that is, one of the most crucial, proven and cost-effective health care investments for attacking public health challenges facing developing countries. Because of Mr. Bloomberg’s generous commitment, many more countries will have the opportunity to implement these tobacco control solutions and millions of lives will be saved.

 

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