Bloomberg gives $200M to stem smoking

March 23, 2012 at 9:00 PM

SINGAPORE, China, March 23 (UPI) -- New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he has committed an additional $220 million of his private funds to fight tobacco use around the world.

Bloomberg said with his latest donation of $220 million he had committed more than $600 million for efforts to reduce the rate of smoking in low- and middle-income countries, where almost 80 percent of the world's smokers live.

The funding announcement was made at the 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Singapore.

Bloomberg Philanthropies' four-year commitment will:

-- Concentrate efforts on evidence-based policy change at the national level. Countries experiencing the largest burden of tobacco use -- China, India, Indonesia, Russia and Bangladesh -- as well as other low and middle income countries, will keep receiving intensive support.

-- Fund litigation and advocacy support to challenge tobacco industry efforts to thwart implementation of smoking cessation policies or related efforts.

-- Fund grant support to governments for the implementation of anti-tobacco initiatives.

"Tobacco kills every day, so we need to keep the fight moving forward and keep the momentum going," Bloomberg told the conference. "In low- and middle-income countries alone, an additional 1.2 billion people are now covered by at least one of six proven tobacco control policies -- more than doubling the number of people protected in just five years. When these measures are implemented, the results are clear -- fewer people use tobacco and they live longer, healthier lives."

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