CDC Foundation Receives Grant From Michael Bloomberg’s $125 Million Initiative to Promote Freedom from Smoking

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Foundation announced today that it has received a grant from Michael Bloomberg to establish systematic surveys to monitor global tobacco use among adults. The grant is part of a $125 million initiative by Bloomberg to create a partnership devoted to reducing dependence on tobacco around the world.

The two-year grant to the CDC Foundation will support the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) and CDC’s efforts to design a standard survey protocol to collect data on tobacco use in low- and middle-income countries with the highest smoking rates and to track countries’ progress in implementing tobacco-free programs.

“CDC has a strong track record of working collaboratively with countries and partners to develop global tobacco surveillance systems, but these have primarily been focused on youth and in schools,” says Charles Stokes, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “This infusion of new resources from Michael Bloomberg will enable the world for the first time to systematically track and compare rates among adults in countries where tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death. Most importantly, we will be able to see where progress is being made in reducing tobacco use through effective interventions,” he says.

Tobacco is the world’s leading killer, causing more than 5 million deaths each year. Experts predict that if current smoking patterns continue, smoking will kill about 10 million people every year by 2020, and 7 million of these deaths will occur in developing nations.

WHO, in collaboration with CDC, will immediately begin to develop universal standards for a global adult tobacco survey, and the CDC Foundation will convene a committee of international experts to guide protocol development. In addition, the CDC Foundation will begin to work with organizations in 13 low- and middle-income countries targeted through the initiative to recruit and place experts to implement the project. When in-country surveys are completed, the initiative will disseminate the data to help guide programming and improve policy and public awareness.

In addition to the CDC Foundation, other key partners in the $125 million initiative include the Campaign for Tobacco Free-Kids, the World Lung Foundation, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the World Health Organization.

Partners are charged with working collaboratively to promote international support for tobacco control policies, increase effective advocacy and implement tobacco-free programming. Specifically, the partner organizations will:

  • 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 so as to help make the world tobacco-free.
  • Develop a rigorous system to monitor the status of global tobacco use.

“Tobacco continues to be the world’s leading preventable cause of death, and this truly is an unprecedented commitment by Michael Bloomberg,” says CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding. “Through this initiative, both public and private organizations are pulling together to implement a global strategy on tobacco control, which will result in millions of lives being saved.”

CDC Foundation board chair Phil Jacobs says, “As the world’s leading killer, tobacco is an appropriate first threat for the CDC Foundation to address within one of its new strategic focus areas —‘global threat reduction.’ We look forward to working with WHO, CDC and the other partners to make an impact on tobacco use worldwide.”