The Latin America director of the U.S.-based Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids is among the six regional winners

Washington, D.C., 22 May 2015 (PAHO/WHO) — The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) is honoring six individuals and organizations as winners of the regional 2015 World No Tobacco Day awards, in recognition of their contributions to advancing tobacco control in the Americas to reduce deaths and illness from the tobacco epidemic, which kills one person every six seconds worldwide.

The World No Tobacco Day awards honor individuals and organizations who have made outstanding contributions to advancing policies and measures on tobacco control.

The regional winners from the Americas of the 2015 World No Tobacco Day awards are:

Nicaragua, represented by President Daniel Ortega. Nicaragua was the first country in the world to ratify the FCTC Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade of Tobacco Products. The country's leadership and example are expected to encourage other countries of the Americas to follow suit and help to secure the number of ratifications needed for the protocol to enter into force internationally.

Uruguay, represented by President Tabaré Vásquez. Uruguay was the second country of the Americas to ratify the FCTC Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products. Vázquez, a medical doctor and oncologist by training, played the lead role in advancing his country's comprehensive and effective tobacco control policies. Despite legal challenges by the tobacco industry, he has continued to support tobacco control during his second presidential term and is also encouraging public policies to reduce harmful consumption of alcohol.

Marcelo Fisch, head of the Fiscal Special Control Division of the Federal Revenue Secretariat in Brazil's Ministry of Finance. Fisch has been a key partner in advancing tobacco control both in Brazil and internationally. He was a key participant in negotiations of the guidelines for the implementation of Article 6 (price and tax measures to reduce demand for tobacco) of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) as well as the Protocol on Illicit Trade of Tobacco Products. Under his vision and leadership, Brazil began a process that eventually culminated in a track and tracing system for tobacco products known as Skorpios.

Patricia Sosa, director of Latin America programs for the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK). CTFK is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Working jointly with PAHO/WHO and other partners, Sosa has provided key support and coordination that has helped advance tobacco control in countries including Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Peru.

Stella Aguinaga Bialous. A nurse by training, Bialous has become an internationally recognized expert on monitoring the tobacco industry and developing policies to address industry interference with public health. Her research into the internal documents of the tobacco industry has helped to expose industry's role in the illicit trade of tobacco products as well as other efforts to undermine tobacco control in the Americas. Bialous co-authored the 2002 PAHO publication "Profits over People," which is based largely on her research, and gives generously of her time to mentor young tobacco control advocates.

Mirta Molinari, who serves as regional tobacco control coordinator for Latin America of the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease and director of the Union's country office in Mexico. The Union's Department of Tobacco Control is a global leader in the fight against tobacco use and for the implementation of the FCTC. In the Americas, the Union has partnered with PAHO/WHO and others to advance the FCTC, through its Mexico City office, which opened in 2007. Molinari is a longtime tobacco control expert and has been a key partner in advancing tobacco control not only in Mexico but in many other countries of the Americas.

Tobacco and the FCTC

Tobacco-related illnesses are among the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced. Approximately one person dies from a tobacco-linked disease every six seconds, equivalent to nearly 6 million people a year. That's forecast to rise to more than 8 million people a year by 2030, with more than 80% of these preventable deaths occurring among people in low- and middle-income countries.

The WHO Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC) entered into force in 2005. Parties are obliged over time to fully implement it, enacting national legislation in areas that include protecting people from exposure to tobacco smoke; eliminating illicit trade; banning advertising, promotion and sponsorship; banning sales to minors; including large graphic health warnings on tobacco packages; increasing tobacco taxes; and protecting all these public polices from commercial and other vested interests in the tobacco industry. There are 180 Parties to the Convention, 30 of them from the Americas.


PAHO, founded in 1902, is the oldest international public health organization in the world. It works with its member countries to improve the health and the quality of life of the people of the Americas. It also serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of WHO.


World No Tobacco Day 2015

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