World No Tobacco Day awards 2012


Zsuzsanna Jakab and Andrei Usatîi

Every year on 31 May, the World Health Organization recognizes individuals and/or organizations for their accomplishments in tobacco control with World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) awards. The awards recognize international achievements in the fight against the global tobacco epidemic and in the promotion of tobacco control initiatives and policies. They are awarded to individuals and institutions selected for long-term commitment and outstanding contribution in research, advocacy, health promotion, capacity building and other activities that promote and enforce tobacco control.

The awards are respected and a powerful tobacco control tool. Regarded highly worldwide, the awards bring visibility, nationally and internationally, to WHO’s collaborative support of countries’ and civil society’s efforts to control tobacco.

The awards for 2012 are given to the following in the WHO European Region:

Director-General Special Recognition Award

Mr Karim Massimov, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan

Mr Karim Massimov, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, has placed health centrally into the Government of Kazakhstan strategic agenda, ensuring the whole of the government approach to health.

His leadership and strong commitment to reduce the burden of tobacco related diseases and health-harms in Kazakhstan has engaged all key Ministries, e.g. Finance, Economy, Education, Information, to put tobacco control high on their agendas and actions.

His continuous leadership showed the way to enhance the social dialogue on tobacco control, enabling a strong participation of the civil society, key ministries and all stakeholders into translation of the policy into practice.

The Government lead by Mr Massimov, Kazakhstan ratified the WHO FCTC in 2007 and immediately after developed tobacco control legislation confirming its strong commitment to the treaty and its implementation. Prime Minister Massimov nominated the Ministry of Health as the lead ministry coordinating the implementation of WHO FCTC while ensuring that all decisions and actions of various ministries were taking under consideration tobacco control and obligations under the treaty.

The latest policy example has been the decision to use Thai pictorial health warnings on tobacco products in Kazakhstan. Thai warnings are one of the most effective pictorial warnings globally and Kazakhstan would be the first country in the WHO European Region to start using them.

The Prime Minister brought the issue of tobacco related harm and control policies onto the agenda of the inter-governmental customs union of 5 countries (Kazakhstan, Belarus, Russian Federation, Kirgizstan, Tajikistan). As result of leading role and strong commitment of Kazakhstan, the customs union adopted strong technical regulations on packaging and labelling of tobacco products in line with the WHO FCTC.  This is a clear example of national strong commitment of Kazakhstan in tobacco control directly supporting the international tobacco control agenda and public health globally.

World No Tobacco Day Awards


Professor Dr Cevdet Erdöl, President of Health, Family, Labour and Social Affairs Commission, Grand National Assembly

Rationale for nomination for WNTD award:

Professor Erdöl is one of the main key actors and driving forces behind the ratification of the WHO FCTC and advanced tobacco control legislation of Turkey,. The Turkish Grand National Assembly adopted this strong and advanced tobacco control law of 2008, which was initiated and prepared by Professor Erdöl. Prof Erdöl was instrumental to the ratification of the WHO FCTC in 2004 by Turkey. He contributed substantially to the development, implementation and evaluation of national tobacco control action plan 2007-2012 to ensure its evidence-base and full consistency with the WHO FCTC.

Professor Erdöl has been a strong leader in tobacco control from its early days in Turkey, crucial for the adoption of strong legislative basis and their actual enforcement to make Turkey a smoke-free country. Without his commitment and actions, Turkey would not be one of the leading tobacco control countries in the region and globally.

Nominated by Country Office and Regional Office.

United Kingdom
Mrs Patti White, policy analyst, National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)

Rationale for nomination for WNTD award:

Since Patti White joined ASH UK in 1978, she has worked across all of the major developments in tobacco control internationally, often behind the scenes. At WHO Regional Office for Europe in the 1980s, she drafted the regional Action Plan on Tobacco Control and co-organised the first European Conference on Tobacco Policy in 1988. As advisor to the United Kingdom Department of Health, she was instrumental in developing tobacco control policy through the 1990s; she led the national smoking and pregnancy campaign; and initiated crucial research on inequalities, passive smoking, smuggling, taxation, regulation, and labelling. She has worked on EU tobacco control legislation from the beginning. Patti White is a founding member and leading advocate for the International Network of Women Against Tobacco (INWAT). As Policy Analyst at NICE, she is producing cutting-edge national guidance. As Technical Advisor to The Union since 2007, she continues to provide support and mentorship to Bloomberg grantees globally, including in Poland and Georgia. Patti White’s intellectual rigour, her commitment to an evidence-based approach, her deep and broad understanding of tobacco control, her modesty and generosity mark her out as truly worthy of this Award.

Nominated by Dr Martina Pötschke-Langer, German Cancer Research Center, WHO Collaborating Centre for Tobacco Control, Heidelberg (Germany).

United Kingdom
Jean King, Director of Tobacco Control at Cancer Research

Rationale for nomination for WNTD award:

Jean King has made an exceptional contribution to global tobacco control by nurturing policy-based research and advocacy in the United Kingdom and worldwide over the last twenty years. She developed the Tobacco Advisory Group within CRUK, which is one of the few sources of dedicated tobacco control research funding for academics and was instrumental in the development of the UK as a major research centre for tobacco control.

Her leadership has been exemplary, in particular campaigning for the isolation of the tobacco industry by researchers, journals and funders, and for greater and well-coordinated funding for tobacco control in developing countries. Jean developed the Code of Practice on Tobacco Industry Funding for Research, which prohibits those in receipt of tobacco funds from receiving grants. With the American Cancer Society, Jean set up the (WHO) FCTC Awards and the Africa Tobacco Control Regional Initiative. She also helped establish the Smoke-free Partnership, working within the EU for effective tobacco control and non-interference by tobacco companies. In the UK, Jean has been at the heart of the successful campaigns for the introduction of comprehensive tobacco control measures since the early 1990s. She is now heavily involved in the campaign for plain packaging of tobacco products.

Nominated by Deborah Arnott, Action on Smoking and Health, Ann McNeil, University of Nottingham, Archile Turnbull, European Respiratory Society, Susanne Logstrup, European heart Network, Florence Berteletti Kemp, Smoke Free Partnership.

Republic of Moldova
Dr Andrei Usatii, Minister of Health

Rationale for nomination for WNTD award:

In 2011, the Republic of Moldova has made outstanding progress in tobacco control and implementing the WHO FCTC. This progress is particularly amazing as the country is known as the main producer of tobacco in the former Soviet Union and the tobacco industry is still quite powerful at the national level; also smuggling of tobacco products represents an important source of income for the hidden economy. Moldova ratified the treaty in 2009 but actual work on its implementation did not start until last year. Dr Andrei Usatii has played a crucial role, since he took the office, in breaking this inaction in tobacco control and continuously promoting tobacco control as a priority issue on Government’s agenda. He has also managed to mobilize all key actors involved in tobacco control under the Ministry of Health’s leadership, including other key Ministries, the civil society and mass media. Thanks to Dr Usatii’s personal involvement and leadership, the country developed a comprehensive National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) along with an Action plan for five years and a Communication Strategy for a nation-wide campaign targeting current and potential tobacco users. National Strategy and Action Plan, fully in line with the WHO FCTC, were adopted by the Government in February 2012. Under Dr Usatii’s initiative, the Republic of Moldova hosted the European Regional Workshop on Implementation of the WHO FCTC in November 2011 for 45 countries.

Nominated by Country Office and Regional Office.

Mrs Sylviane Ratte, Senior Adviser, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease

Rationale for nomination for WNTD award:

Sylviane is an outstanding tobacco control advocate whose nomination for this award is long overdue. She embodies the theme of WNTD 2012, tobacco industry and its interference to public health policy-making. Nobody has fought the tobacco industry harder than Sylviane who has been a leading advocate for some of the greatest improvements in tobacco control legislation and policy over the last 15 years.

Her tobacco control achievements encompass the national level in her home country of France (she was one of the leading advocates who succeeded in bringing in the smoke-free law in France in 2007), as well as Turkey, where she provided valuable financial and technical advice to NGO and government policy-makers during their battle to enact the Turkish smoke-free law in 2008-10. While campaigning for French legislative change, Sylviane has also played a leading role in European Union tobacco control advocacy and has been a strong advocate of good policy throughout the WHO FCTC negotiations and Conference of Parties. Over recent years she has also been working in Indonesia and the Francophone African countries to support tobacco control efforts in those countries and regions. Her energy, commitment and determination never to give up, even in the face of what appears to be overwhelming tobacco industry money and influence, is an example to tobacco control advocates everywhere.

Nominated by International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.