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New Public Education Campaigns in Asia and Europe for World No Tobacco Day

Note: World Lung Foundation united with The Union North America. From January 2016, the combined organization is known as “Vital Strategies.”

(New York, NY) -For World No Tobacco Day 2010, World Lung Foundation (WLF) is supporting the launch of new public education campaigns that graphically depict the health harms of tobacco use in Russia, China and India —three countries where the largest populations of smokers in the world live (The Tobacco Atlas, Third Edition,


WLF provided materials and technical assistance to the Ministries of Health in Chuvashia, Krasnoyarsk, Samara and Tver, four key Russian regions that are launching new campaigns about the harmful effects of smoking and secondhand smoke. Three of the regional ministries adapted and aired an ad which graphically depicts the health harms of secondhand smoke on children. The ad, called “Cigarettes are Eating Your Baby Alive,” was originally produced in New York City and was found to have significant impact on Russian audiences in previously conducted testing. The ad will air beginning in May on national and regional TV and radio, with supporting posters and billboards. WLF also provided technical support on the launch of a mass media campaign announcing smoke-free medical facilities in Krasnoyarsk.

In conjunction with the Moscow Duma's Public Health Committee, WLF is also presenting its mass media work at tobacco control conferences in Moscow at the end of May. These presentations will reach key political and medical professionals who are active in the fight against tobacco use in Russia.


WLF guided the design and content of the World Health Organization's (WHO) exhibition at the Shanghai World Expo 2010, which will be visited by an estimated 70 million people. The exhibit, entitled “Tobacco: the burden, the solution,” illustrates the devastating impact that tobacco use can have on smokers and their loved ones. WLF will also be showing a video reel of hard-hitting, international tobacco control advertisements to illustrate the importance of tobacco control and smoke-free policies. The exhibit will be located in the United Nations pavilion at the World Expo from May 27-June 10, to coincide with the range of activities planned to promote World No Tobacco Day around the globe.


With technical support from WLF, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare is launching the “Sponge” campaign, a creative approach that visually depicts the amount of tar that collects inside an average smoker's lungs. The nationwide campaign airs on more than 40 TV and hundreds of nationwide cinema theaters until June, in eleven languages: English, Hindi, Tamil, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, Oriya, Marathi, Punjabi, and Bengali.

“World No Tobacco Day is a moment to highlight the global tobacco epidemic to policy makers, the health community and citizens around the world,” said Sandra Mullin, Senior VP for Communications, World Lung Foundation. “From the data in our Tobacco Atlas (, we know that more than 609 million people are tobacco users across China, Russia and India, so we are proud to be helping health ministries in these countries and many others across the globe in their efforts to change consumer opinion and public policy.

“WLF advocates and supports communication programs that use strong, visceral images to show the horrible effects of tobacco on people's health. Over the coming year, WLF aims to help more countries improve their communication campaigns to deliver similarly positive results.”

Tobacco use is the leading preventable agent of death in the world today, and is responsible for more than five million deaths each year—one in ten adults worldwide. Within 25 years the death toll from tobacco will climb to more than eight million people per year, and it is estimated that half of all people who smoke today will eventually be killed by the direct or indirect effects of tobacco.