WASHINGTON, D.C. – The World Health Organization (WHO) has made an inspired decision in reappointing Michael R. Bloomberg as the WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries – a decision announced today. Michael Bloomberg brings an unparalleled record of accomplishment in saving lives from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and highlighting the critical public health challenge posed by NCDs such as heart disease, hypertension, cancer, diabetes and respiratory diseases.
Now more than ever, fighting noncommunicable diseases is crucial to global health. NCDs account for over 74% of deaths globally, many of which occur in low- and middle- income countries. Tobacco use – which causes eight million deaths worldwide each year – is the only risk factor shared by all four main categories of NCDs. The fight against NCDs is even more critical today as public health authorities, including the WHO, have identified many NCDs – and underlying causes such as smoking – as risk factors for more severe illness from COVID-19.
Both as mayor of New York City and as a philanthropist, Michael Bloomberg has made it a top priority to combat NCDs and their underlying causes, including tobacco use and trans fats. As mayor, he greatly improved the health and life expectancy of New Yorkers through the Smoke Free Air Act, a ban on trans fats and other public health initiatives, inspiring other cities and entire countries to follow suit. Through the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, he has transformed efforts to reduce tobacco use around the world and helped to save countless lives globally. His foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, also promotes policy solutions around the world that reduce rates of NCDs like cardiovascular disease and hypertension as a result of factors such as poor diet, while also supporting road safety and drowning prevention initiatives.
Michael Bloomberg is uniquely qualified to focus global attention on this public health crisis and serve as a catalyst for life-saving action around the world, and we look forward to partnering with him and the WHO on proven policy solutions to reduce NCDs and save lives.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is the leading advocacy organization working to reduce tobacco use and its deadly consequences in the United States and around the world. In addition to our work fighting tobacco use, our Global Health Advocacy Incubator applies our broad range of advocacy experience to supporting civil society organizations working to address other critical public health challenges.