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Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Honored to Be Part of Michael Bloomberg's $125 Million Initiative to Promote Freedom from Smoking

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
November 03, 2006

Washington, DC — In August, Michael R. Bloomberg announced plans to donate $125 million over two years to create an initiative to combat tobacco use around the world, particularly in developing countries where more than two-thirds of the world's smokers live. Today, Mr. Bloomberg announced that he has selected five partner organizations to coordinate activities under this initiative and provide grants to and work with other organizations to fulfill the promise of the initiative. They include Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the World Health Organization and the World Lung Foundation.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is honored and grateful to be one of the five coordinating organizations for the project. We are very excited by this opportunity to participate in a significantly enhanced effort to combat tobacco use around the world and look forward to working with our fellow grantees and other organizations that are working to address this global public health challenge, such as the American Cancer Society.

Mr. Bloomberg's historic initiative will exponentially increase the resources and effort brought to the worldwide fight against the tobacco epidemic. 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 how to quickly and dramatically reduce tobacco use and its devastating consequences. With the resources provided by Mr. Bloomberg, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids will work with our fellow grantees and other committed organizations to bring these life-saving solutions to countries around the world.

As part of this initiative, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids will establish a global resource center to provide accurate public information about tobacco use and effective tobacco control interventions and to assist advocates around the world with a variety of resources and technical assistance to achieve policy change. The Campaign and the World Lung Foundation (working with the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease) will also work together to provide grants to organizations in low and middle-income countries to accelerate progress in tobacco control. Our organizations will provide more information on grant guidelines and the application process in the near future.

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. Michael Bloomberg's generous commitment and leadership will save countless lives and improve public health around the world for generations to come.

(The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leader in the fight to reduce tobacco use in the United States and around the world. By changing public attitudes and public policies on tobacco, the Campaign works to prevent kids from smoking, help smokers quit and protect everyone from secondhand smoke. A non-profit organization established in 1996, the Campaign works with more than 130 organizational partners, including public health, medical, education, civic, corporate, youth and religious organizations. The Campaign does not accept any government or tobacco industry funding.)