May. 21 2008
Washington, D.C. — Laura Salgado of Honduras was honored on May 20, 2008, for her leadership in the fight against tobacco use in Latin America and around the world.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids presented Salgado with the first annual Judy Wilkenfeld Award for International Tobacco Control Excellence at its annual awards gala in Washington, DC.
The Wilkenfeld award was established in honor of Judy Wilkenfeld, the founder of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ international program, who passed away in May 2007. The award recognizes international tobacco control advocates who both contribute significantly to reducing tobacco use and inspire others to do the same, in the spirit exemplified by Judy Wilkenfeld.
Salgado works extensively throughout Latin America and internationally in tobacco control. Salgado first became involved in 2003 when she worked on a smoke-free universities project and became active in the Framework Convention Alliance (FCA). The FCA is an alliance of almost 300 organizations in more than 100 countries working to support the World Health Organization tobacco control treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
In 2005, Salgado founded Acción para la Promoción de Ambientes Libres de Tabaco (Promoting Action for a Smoke-Free Environment) and participated in the International Symposium on Women and Tobacco in Spain. She also serves on the steering committee of the Global Smokefree Partnership.
In 2006, Salgado became the first Latin American regional coordinator for the FCA. In this role, she works with Latin American organizations and governments to form influential and effective coalitions to advance the FCTC. Due in part to Salgado’s efforts, 23 Latin American countries have ratified the FCTC to date. The treaty calls on nations to implement scientifically proven measures to reduce tobacco use, including advertising bans, stronger health warnings, higher tobacco taxes and smoke-free workplace laws.
“Laura Salgado is a highly deserving first recipient of the Judy Wilkenfeld Award. She has proven herself to be a dedicated, skillful tobacco control advocate and has worked in challenging circumstances to improve health and save lives. Laura distinctly demonstrates Judy’s gift of uniting and mentoring people, fostering consensus and nurturing those with whom she works,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
Salgado’s leadership and dedication to fighting tobacco use in Latin American is critical, as tobacco continues to have a deadly impact on the region. For example, in Honduras, 15 to 20 percent of men over the age of 30 die each year from tobacco related illnesses. In Brazil, tobacco is responsible for approximately 200,000 deaths a year. In Mexico, where one quarter of the population over the age of 12 smokes, 147 people die each day from tobacco-related disease.
“I am honored to have been chosen for this award out of an extraordinary group of individuals from around the world who were nominated,” Salgado said. “Tobacco use causes so much harm to health in Honduras and throughout Latin America. My passion is for a smoke-free Latin America, and I will continue to fight to make that dream a reality.”
Wilkenfeld’s family and friends established the annual award to honor a tobacco control advocate who is not only an achiever, but someone who works daily to unify the community, mentors and serves as a role model for others, and demonstrates a unique respect for the diversity of colleagues.