Michael Bloomberg Is Uniquely… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
sign up

Michael Bloomberg Is Uniquely Qualified to Serve as WHO Global Ambassador for Non-Communicable Diseases

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
August 17, 2016


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The World Health Organization has made an inspired choice in appointing Michael R. Bloomberg as the WHO Global Ambassador for Non-Communicable Diseases. No one is more qualified and committed than Mayor Bloomberg to lead the global fight against non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease and diabetes, which are the world’s biggest killers and place an ever-growing burden on low- and middle-income countries.

Both as mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013 and as a philanthropist, Michael Bloomberg has made it a top priority to combat NCDs and their underlying causes, including tobacco use. As mayor, he greatly improved the health and life expectancy of New Yorkers through the Smoke Free Air Act and other public health initiatives, and he inspired cities, states and entire countries to take similar action.

As a philanthropist, he launched the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, which has fundamentally transformed efforts to reduce tobacco use across the globe and helped save more than 26 million lives. Mayor Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies also provided critical support to Uruguay in defending its landmark tobacco control laws against an international legal challenge by Philip Morris International, achieving a victory that has been felt around the world. Bloomberg Philanthropies has also provided global leadership for cutting-edge public health measures on improved road safety, obesity prevention and maternal and reproductive health.

The fight against non-communicable diseases is critically important to global health. NCDs have overtaken infectious diseases as the world’s leading killers and now cause nearly two out of every three deaths worldwide. Nearly three quarters of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, straining health care systems, contributing to poverty and posing a major barrier to development. Tobacco use is the only risk factor shared by all four main categories of NCDs, accounting for nearly one in six deaths from NCDs and killing six million people worldwide each year.

Michael Bloomberg is uniquely qualified to focus global attention on this public health crisis and serve as a catalyst for life-saving action around the world.