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Vital Strategies and Partners Recognized by the World Health Organization on World No Tobacco Day 2024 

Vital Strategies’ Gustavo Sóñora honored for work in tobacco control 

May 31, 2024 (New York)—Vital Strategies is proud to announce Gustavo Sóñora, Regional Director of Tobacco Control, Latin America, has been named a 2024 World Health Organization World No Tobacco Day Award winner for his outstanding accomplishments in the field of tobacco control. 

Each year, WHO recognizes organizations and individuals that have made significant contributions to promoting and enforcing tobacco control globally. This year’s World No Tobacco Day focuses on protecting children from the influence of the tobacco industry. 

“We are immensely proud of Gustavo and our dedicated partners for their relentless efforts to curb the use of deadly tobacco products, which are linked to millions of preventable deaths each year,” said José Luis Castro, President and CEO of Vital Strategies. “Vital Strategies remains committed to supporting governments to reduce tobacco use and protect public health worldwide.”  

Gustavo Sóñora is a lawyer and for over 20 years has been a prominent advocate, championing tobacco control and children’s rights against corporate interests. His career began in his home country, Uruguay, where he played a pivotal role in the approval of the 2008 Tobacco Control Law as a parliamentary advisor. He has collaborated with local and global civil society organizations, including the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, and currently works at the global health organization, Vital Strategies.  

“I am deeply honored by this recognition and proud of the progress we have made in tobacco control across Latin America,” said Sóñora. “However, our work is far from over. We must continue to hold the tobacco industry accountable and secure ongoing government support for policies and campaigns that prevent tobacco use, especially among children.”  

Vital Strategies is also thrilled to celebrate its partners who have been recognized as WHO World No Tobacco Day 2024 winners including:  

  • Dr. Vera da Costa e Silva, Head of the National Commission for the Implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, Federative Republic of Brazil 
  • Ministry of Health, Ukraine 
  • Lviv Oblast Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the Ministry of Health, Ukraine 
  • Ministry of Railways, People’s Republic of Bangladesh 
  • Odisha State Tobacco Control Cell, Republic of India 

In addition, these partners and grantees received the South-East Asia Regional Director’s Special Recognition Awards

  • Prof. Arup Ratan Choudhury, Association for the Prevention of Drug Abuse, Bangladesh 
  • Dr. Mir Mushtaq Ahmad, Nodal Officer Kashmir, National Tobacco Control Program, India 
  • Generation Saviour Association, Punjab, India 

Their collective efforts continue to drive significant progress in global tobacco control and public health. 

Learn more about Vital Strategies’ work in tobacco control.

About Vital Strategies 

Vital Strategies believes every person should be protected by an equitable and effective public health system. We partner with governments, communities and organizations around the world to reimagine public health so that health is supported in all the places we live, work and play. The result is millions of people living longer, healthier lives. 

To find out more, please visit or follow us @VitalStrat. 

Media Contacts 

Ally Davis,  
Tia Savarese,