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November 2, 2006

School of Public Health Joins Michael Bloomberg’s $125 Million Initiative to Promote Freedom from Smoking

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health will be one of five organizations to receive funds from a $125 million global initiative established by Michael R. Bloomberg. Over the next two years, the partner organizations will implement and coordinate activities to help stop the global epidemic of tobacco use. The other partners announced are the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation, the World Health Organization and the World Lung Foundation.

To support the initiative, the Bloomberg School of Public Health, which is named in honor of Mr. Bloomberg, plans to expand its tobacco control programs in China. These programs focus on interventions to reduce tobacco use, health surveillance and the communication and evaluation of tobacco control measures. The School will also draw upon the tobacco control skill and expertise of its Institute for Global Tobacco Control, Center for Communication Programs and Department of Health, Behavior and Society.

The Bloomberg School’s efforts will be headed by Jonathan Samet, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology and director of the Institute for Global Tobacco Control. “This is an extraordinary and long-needed opportunity to expand the work we’re doing worldwide, particularly in China, where over 330 million people smoke. Globally, nearly 5 million people are killed by tobacco each year. Current trends suggest that number could increase to 10 million over the next 15 years,” said Samet.

In addition to China, the $125 million initiative will develop programs in India, Russia, Indonesia and Bangladesh. The partners will also create a global clearinghouse for anti-tobacco ads and support legal measures and policies to limit smoking and protect individuals from secondhand smoke.

The four main components of the initiative are the following:

• Refine and optimize tobacco control programs to help smokers stop and prevent children from starting.

• Support public sector efforts to pass and enforce key laws and implement effective policies, in particular to tax cigarettes, prevent smuggling, change the image of tobacco, and protect workers from exposure to other people’s smoke.

• Support advocates’ efforts to educate communities about the harms of tobacco and to enhance tobacco control activities to help make the world tobacco-free.

• Develop a rigorous system to monitor the status of global tobacco use. 

Public Affairs media contacts for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Tim Parsons or Kenna Lowe at 410-955-6878 or paffairs@jhsph.edu.