(New York, USA) – At the World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Cape Town today, Michael R. Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies announced the launch of STOP (Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products). The initiative creates a new global watchdog to closely monitor and highlight the tactics the tobacco industry uses across the globe to undermine public health. These include subverting marketing bans to target vulnerable populations, especially youth, and interfering in the development, implementation and enforcement of life-saving tobacco control policies.
“We applaud Mayor Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies for their continued commitment and leadership in tobacco control. STOP bridges a critical knowledge gap by exposing the tobacco industry’s deceptive and deadly activities. The industry is the biggest obstacle to progress in reducing tobacco use, and STOP will empower governments and advocates to counter the industry’s tactics,” said José Luis Castro, President and CEO of Vital Strategies.
The Tobacco Atlas, Sixth Edition, which is being released on March 8th, graphically shows how the tobacco industry uses the same tactical playbook across the world to promote tobacco sales and protect its profits. It also reveals the success of the policies the industry is trying to stop. Governments can counter tobacco’s harm by implementing proven tobacco control policies included in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
STOP will show governments and advocates that they are not alone in their experience of the tobacco industry’s tactics. It will highlight the chasm between the industry’s claims to be reducing the harm of tobacco and the reality of what it does every day – perpetuate an epidemic that kills more than 7 million people each year. The industry is marketing cigarettes as aggressively as ever, especially to vulnerable people in low- and middle-income countries, and filing expensive lawsuits against strong tobacco control laws across the globe.
To save lives, governments must stand up to the industry and fully implement significant tobacco tax increases, comprehensive smoke-free laws, advertising bans, anti-tobacco mass media campaigns and large, graphic health warnings on tobacco packaging.
About Vital Strategies
Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.
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