Washington, D.C., 28 May 2019 (PAHO/WHO) –Individuals, organizations and authorities from six countries across the Region of the Americas, including Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Colombia, El Salvador, the United States of America and Uruguay are to be honored with a 2019 World No Tobacco Day award. These honors, awarded each year by the World Health Organization (WHO), aim to recognize outstanding contributions to advancing the fight against the harmful effects of tobacco smoke. 

The awards were announced in the run-up to World No Tobacco Day (May 31), the theme of which is “Tobacco and lung health.” This year’s winners have all paved the way towards the advancement of policies and measures contained in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in the Region of the Americas. 

“Tobacco use is a huge determinant of lung health and is responsible for 65% of all deaths from pulmonary cancers in the Region,” said Dr. Hennis, Director of the Department of Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health at PAHO. “This prize recognizes the vital role that organizations and individuals play in developing and supporting policies to protect the people of the Americas from the harmful impact of tobacco smoke on lung health.” 

The six winners of the award in the Americas are:

  • Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment of Antigua and Barbuda for becoming the third country in the Region to approve, within a single comprehensive legislation, a ban on smoking in indoor public places and workplaces; mandatory graphic health warnings on tobacco products; and a ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
  • Gerbert Marcelo Marquelli Canales of El Salvador. This posthumous award recognizes Mr. Marquelli’s work as legal counsel for the Health Solidarity Fund (FOSALUD) in El Salvador, where he played a pivotal role in drafting, promoting and supporting the adoption of the smoke-free regulations. 
  • Dr. Ana María Lorenzo García, from the International Cooperation Centre on Tobacco Control. Dr. Lorenzo is being honored for her long trajectory in working for the development of strong tobacco control legislation in her country and beyond, particularly counteracting interference from the tobacco industry.
  • A coalition of seven Colombian scientific medical organizations (the Colombian Internal Medicine Association, Colombian Society of Family Medicine, Colombian Association of Pulmonology and Thorax Surgery, Colombian Association of Pediatric Pulmonology, Colombian Society of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Surgery, Colombian Association of Pathology, and the Colombian Association of Hematology and Oncology) for their in efforts warning about the negative health impact of new products such as the Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems and Electronic Non-Nicotine Delivery Systems. 
  • The Interamerican Heart Foundation - Argentina (FIC Argentina), which is among the first tobacco control organizations to adopt a human rights approach to guide its agenda. The organization’s research and policy work have been instrumental in supporting and advocating for the adoption and implementation of tobacco control regulations. 
  • Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) from Florida, United States of America, for their work in addressing the youth tobacco epidemic. Their latest initiative “Not a Lab Rat”, campaigns against the dramatic rise in youth e-cigarette use. 

World No Tobacco Day

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. The theme of this year’s World No Tobacco Day is “Tobacco and lung health”. The campaign will focus on highlighting the negative impact that tobacco has on lung health, from cancer to chronic respiratory diseases, and the critical importance of the lungs to health and well-being. 

World No Tobacco Day awards

The World No Tobacco Day awards take place each year and aim to recognize individuals or organizations in each of the six WHO regions for their accomplishments in the area of tobacco control. 

Last year, the recipients of the award in the Region included individuals, organizations and authorities from Argentina, Chile, Guyana, United States of America and Uruguay.


World No Tobacco Day