Former New York City mayor commits $360 million to raise tobacco taxes and other tobacco control initiatives
With cigarette use declining globally, former New York City mayor and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg is deepening his campaign to fight tobacco use in the developing world, writes the Wall Street Journal.
Bloomberg is committing $360 million to be used from 2017-2022 to help raise tobacco taxes, implement smoke-free laws and curb tobacco use in low- and middle-income countries, according to Bloomberg Philanthropies.
“Over the last 10 years, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ investment in tobacco control has contributed to a change in the global trajectory of tobacco use. Global sales of tobacco plateaued in 2012 with about 200 billion fewer cigarettes sold in 2014 than in 2010. The program spans more than 110 countries targeting the world’s heaviest-smoking countries including China, India, Indonesia and Bangladesh,” notes the former mayor’s philanthropy.
Bloomberg didn’t hold back on curbing tobacco use and making it more expensive for New York City smokers to purchase product while he served as mayor. The Journal notes that Bloomberg’s administration “famously instituted” smoking bans, graphic ad campaigns and excise tax increases.
Meanwhile, Philip Morris International CEO Andre Calantzopoulos said in an interview last week that there could be a day when the company stops selling traditional cigarettes altogether, reports the Journal.
“There will come a moment in time where I would say we have sufficient adoption of these alternative products…and sufficient awareness to start envisaging together with government a phase-out period for cigarettes, and I hope this time will come soon,” Calantzopoulos said. The news source notes that his comments come as PM launches its iQOS heat-not-burn tobacco product in the U.K., which internal studies show is potentially less harmful than cigarettes. PM is opening a store to sell the fountain-pen-size gadget in central London.