Bloomberg To Fund Anti-Smoking Campaign
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) on Tuesday announced that he will donate $125 million over two years for a worldwide anti-smoking campaign, USA Today reports. The campaign, the "worldwide stop smoking initiative," will focus on programs that seek to help smokers quit and prevent smoking among children (Jones, USA Today, 8/16).
In addition, the campaign will encourage the enactment of laws that would place taxes on tobacco products, protect employees from secondhand smoke and prevent smuggling of tobacco products (Saul, New York Daily News, 8/16).
Bloomberg, who has made a number of donations in the past without much publicity, said that he announced the most recent donation through a statement from a public relations firm to make anti-smoking groups aware of the new source of funds. Bloomberg said, "Unless we take urgent action, this century a billion people will die from smoking" (USA Today, 8/16).
The donation from Bloomberg is almost three times the amount currently spent on all anti-smoking campaigns worldwide, one expert said.
Ross Hammond, an international consultant to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said that the World Health Organization donates about $29 million to anti-smoking campaigns biennially and that "that's two-thirds of all the money available" (Seifman, New York Post, 8/16).
Vince Willmore, spokesperson for CTFK, said, "The current fight against tobacco, especially in developing countries, is truly a David vs. Goliath battle between the very well-funded tobacco industry and very underfunded tobacco control activists. The mayor today has given David a much bigger slingshot" (USA Today, 8/16).
WHO estimates that 1.3 billion individuals smoke worldwide (Kugler, AP/Long Island Newsday, 8/15).