Tobacco could kill as many as one billion people in the 21st century, most of them in poor and middle-income countries, according to World Health Organization estimates.
In an effort to cut that number, Bloomberg’s foundation plans to commit $250 million over four years on top of $125 million that he announced two years ago. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is allocating $125 million over five years.
Those sums far outstrip current spending of about $20 million a year on anti-smoking campaigns in poor and middle-income countries, according to a recent WHO. report.
The $500 million would be spent on a multipronged campaign nicknamed Mpower that Bloomberg and Dr. Margaret Chan, director of the WHO, outlined in February. Under it, governments will be urged to raise tobacco taxes sharply, outlaw smoking in public places, outlaw advertising to children and free giveaways of cigarettes, start anti-smoking advertising campaigns and offer their citizens nicotine patches or other help in quitting.