MPOWER: Bloomberg and Gates pledge millions to tobacco control
Last week saw the announcement of a new initiative, involving $375 million in new funding from the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The funding adds to the $125 million already committed by Bloomberg to reduce the harm from tobacco around the world.
The funding will focus on developing countries, where most of the world’s smokers live (e.g. China, India, Indonesia and countries in Africa), and will primarily be used to help implement proven tobacco control policies in those countries.
The proven policies include those described in the recent “MPOWER” package launched by the World Health Organization.The six components of the MPOWER package are:
Monitor tobacco use and the policies to prevent it .
Protect people from tobacco smoke
Offer people help to quit tobacco use
Warn about the dangers of tobacco
Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship
Raise taxes on tobacco
This funding will go a long way in counteracting the tobacco industry’s marketing efforts in developing countries. And certainly there is a massive amount of work to be done in the countries being targeted. Just as one example, there are more male smokers in China than people in the United States. In many other countries the tobacco industry is stepping up its marketing efforts, often targeting women and young people. So the Gates and Bloomberg philanthropic organizations are to be congratulated for having the wisdom to target their funding to get the maximum health gain. This funding will result in millions fewer smokers, and vast improvements in health in those countries around the world that need it most.
You can view a video, presented at the announcement press conference, at:
Details of the World Health Organizations report on global tobacco effects and the MPOWER package of strategies to reduce the harm to health caused by tobacco can be found at: http://www.who.int/tobacco/mpower/en/