Ramona Brad of Romania Honored for Leadership in Fight against Tobacco Use


May 22, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ramona Brad of Romania will be honored with the 2018 Judy Wilkenfeld Award for International Tobacco Control Excellence for her leadership in the fight against tobacco use in Romania. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids will present Ms. Brad with the award at its annual gala on May 24, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

The Wilkenfeld Award was established in honor of the late Judy Wilkenfeld, the founder of Tobacco-Free Kids’ international program, a tireless leader in the effort to reduce tobacco use and in the adoption of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), the influential international treaty that commits countries to take strong action to reduce tobacco use. The award is given annually to an international tobacco control advocate who has made extraordinary contributions to reducing tobacco use in low- and middle-income countries and who both inspires and enables others to do the same in the spirit exemplified by Wilkenfeld.

As Project Director of the 2035 Tobacco-Free Romania Initiative, Brad leads a national campaign with the goal of eliminating the death and disease caused by tobacco use in Romania. Brad launched the initiative following her work at the Romania Breathes Coalition where she spearheaded efforts to pass a national smoke-free law. In the year after the law was passed and successfully implemented, hospitalizations of children for acute respiratory disease declined by six percent, restaurant revenues increased by 20 percent, and 70 percent of Romanian smokers approved of the law.

Under her leadership, the coalition mobilized over 250 nongovernmental organizations in support of the smoke-free law. In 2016, Brad was recognized by the U.S. Embassy of Romania, which presented her with a 2016 Women of Courage Award.

Through the 2035 Tobacco-Free Romania Initiative, Brad has continued to broaden support for tobacco control throughout Romania. She has mobilized medical, academic and civic organizations and won the support of Romanian President Klaus Werner Iohannis, who hosted the campaign’s launch at the presidential palace – a first for a public health initiative. Along with her colleagues, she has successfully advocated for implementation of the European Union’s Tobacco Products Directive and government authorization to introduce plain tobacco packaging, removing misleading branding from tobacco packs.

“Tobacco-related death and disease is entirely preventable,” said Brad. “Through strong government action to pass proven policies like banning tobacco advertising, we can prevent new generations from becoming addicted to these deadly products and witness Romania’s first tobacco-free generation.”

“The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is proud to recognize Ramona Brad for her courageous, tireless and exceptional leadership in working to reduce tobacco use and save lives,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “As a champion for public health, Ramona has inspired advocates in Romania and around the world and shown that with leaders like her, a tobacco-free generation is possible.”

Globally, tobacco kills seven million people each year and is projected to kill one billion people this century unless governments take effective action now to reduce tobacco use.