Bloomberg and Gates tackle smoking

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Microsoft founder Bill Gates have pledged USD 500 million (EUR 317.4 million) to their campaigns to fight smoking.

Bloomberg and Gates are aiming to help governments with policies which have been shown to curb smoking, such as raising tobacco taxes and banning tobacco advertising. They say that tobacco kills more 5 million people annually and that, unless action is taken, one billion people could be killed in this century.
"Bill and I want to highlight the enormity of this problem and catalyse a global movement of governments and civil society to stop the tobacco epidemic," said Bloomberg. "We challenge governments to show leadership by implementing tobacco control measures, as an increasing number are doing, and to increase funding for these efforts."
Bloomberg's Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, established in 2005, supports projects that increase tobacco tax, change the image of tobacco, protect non-smokers from exposure to other people's smoke and help people quit. The initiative includes a USD 125 million commitment. It will be extended with a new USD 250 million, four-year commitment, which brings Bloomberg's total commitment to date to more than USD 375 million.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced that it will invest USD 125 million over five years to fight the “tobacco epidemic”, including a USD 24 million grant to the Bloomberg Initiative. In addition to the grant to Bloomberg, the Gates Foundation will support complementary efforts to reduce high rates of tobacco use in countries such as China and India, as well as to help prevent the tobacco epidemic from taking root in Africa. (pi)

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