World No-Tobacco Day Awards recognizes advancements in Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela

22 May 2020
Girl smoking
22 May 2020

Washington D.C., May 22, 2020 (PAHO) -- World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) Awards for 2020 are being presented to three Bolivian institutions, three Mexican ministries, the Venezuelan Ministry of Health, and a Brazilian doctor for their contributions to tobacco control in their countries.

The winners, selected by the World Health Organization (WHO) from nominations received in response to a public call, achieved key advancements for tobacco control in their countries. The awards are part of the global tobacco control efforts that are recognized for World No-Tobacco Day every year.

Three Bolivian institutions shared the award for their role in passing a comprehensive tobacco control law which included the adoption of 100% smoke-free environments in indoor public places and workplaces, becoming the 21st country in the Americas to do so. The law also mandates larger graphic health warning images on tobacco packages. The institutions are the National Assembly of Bolivia, the Ministry of Health, and the Alliance for a Tobacco-Free Bolivia, which worked together to get the legislation approved.

In Mexico, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, and the Ministry of the Economy received the award for their role in increasing taxes on cigarettes and banning the importation of electronic nicotine delivery systems and heated tobacco products, which contributes to the prevention of vaping by Mexican youth.

The Ministry of Health of Venezuela won the award for a total ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco, as established by the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, becoming the eighth country in the Americas to achieve this outcome. Venezuela now implements three of the four WHO “best-buys” for tobacco control.

In Brazil, Dr. Antonio Drauzio Varella received the World No-Tobacco Day award for his advocacy of tobacco control on television, in newspapers, and on digital media. A popular influencer on health issues in Brazil, he is an advocate for cancer prevention and control who works closely with health officials to warn families about the dangers of tobacco and supports the effectiveness of using tobacco taxation to reduce consumption. 

World No Tobacco Day was created by WHO Member States in 1987 and is commemorated each year on 31 May. The aim of the day is to raise awareness of the harmful effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure, and to discourage the use of tobacco in any form. Tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year. For 2020, the theme is “Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use.”

The awards are made for achievements of key measures for tobacco control towards the advancement of policies and measures contained in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in the Region of the Americas.