New York Mayor Bloomberg Takes His Fight Against Tobacco Global

One of the first moves of the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg was to enforce a smoking ban in most restaurants and bars in New York City.  New York City was an early adopter of these anti-smoking ordinances and other cities in the USA soon followed. Now, we are at the point where it seems positively odd to see people smoking at a bar.

Bloomberg is taking this fight against Tobacco global and is using his personal fortune and philanthropy to reduce smoking worldwide.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who fought for anti-smoking legislation in the city, said he would donate $220 million to help reduce tobacco use in China, India and elsewhere in the developing world.

Bloomberg has already pledged money to target the low- and middle-income countries where, according to the World Health Organization, three-quarters of the 1 billion smokers worldwide live. Today’s pledge brings his total to more than $600 million.

Since 2007, 60 countries have passed at least one policy to limit tobacco, including bans on smoking in any workplace, graphic warnings about the harms of cigarette use displayed on packs, prohibitions on advertising as well as taxes and anti- tobacco advertising. About 6 million people a year die from smoking, including more than 600,000 nonsmokers who were exposed to second-hand smoke, according to the WHO.

“It is a scourge, all over the world,” Bloomberg said in a press conference. “Smoking kills the user, but it also can kill the people who are innocent and just happen to be in the neighborhood, if you will.”

According to the WHO, about one third of all smokers in the world live in China. But even small interventions can go a long way to reduce smoking related health hazards. Here is a lesson from Canada via WHO.

Mayor Bloomberg’s contribution is part of a larger global effort to tackle non-communicable diseases, of which tobacco use is a major contributing factor. Here’s more on the topic from the World Health Organization.