Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates to Fund Global Tobacco Control Plan
Bill Gates and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg are to be congratulated on joining forces in funding such comprehensive tobacco control efforts in areas of the world with the largest percentage of smokers. Even though most research on smoke-free policies has been conducted in more affluent countries that have already implemented tobacco control policies, it has been convincingly demonstrated that tobacco control policies are extremely effective at reducing smoking rates, exposure to secondhand smoke, and even smoking-related heart disease.
In fact, investigators at the International Agency for Cancer Research recently analyzed available evidence and found:
- Implementation of smoke-free policies substantially decreases secondhand smoke exposure.
- Smoke-free workplaces decrease cigarette consumption in continuing smokers.
- Smoke-free policies decrease respiratory symptoms in workers.
- Smoke-free policies don't decrease business in restaurants or bars.
- Voluntary smoke-free home policies decrease adult and youth smoking and children's exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Smoke-free workplaces decrease adult smoking rates.
- Smoke-free policies decrease tobacco use in youths.
- Smoke-free legislation reduces rates of heart disease.
- Smoke-free legislation do not adversely affect restaurant or bar income
Lack of funding has been a chronic issue in tobacco control. Implementation of such policies has a broad population effect in terms of improving the health of tobacco users as well as protecting the health of nonsmokers by decreasing exposure to secondhand smoke. The fact that this campaign is mulit faceted and includes cessation efforts will only serve to increase impact. Benefits are always greater if these policies are enacted as part of a comprehensive tobacco-control strategy. Kudos to both men!