Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Naive billionaires Gates and Bloomberg believe their millions may cut smoking in China and Russia

Two US billionaires, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, donated $375 million for anti-smoking campaigns all over the world. A part of the money is planned to be used for struggle against smoking in Russia, China, India, Indonesia and Bangladesh.

"Bill and I want to highlight the enormity of this problem and catalyze a global movement of governments and civil society to stop the tobacco epidemic," Bloomberg said in a statement.

Bill Gates believes that methods to prevent millions of smoking-related deaths are well-known all over the world.

"Tobacco-caused diseases have emerged as one of the greatest health challenges facing developing countries. The good news is, we know what it takes to save millions of lives, and where efforts exist, they are working,” Microsoft founder said.

Bloomberg and Gates, whose joint fortunes total over $70 billion agreed to join their efforts in the implementation of several programs to cut smoking. They stipulate activities to increase taxes on tobacco products, ban their advertising, protect people against second-hand smoking, etc.

New York mayor, a former smoker, founded an anti-smoking foundation in 2005 and invested $125 million in it. Bloomberg intends to wire $250 million more during the forthcoming four years. Gates invested $24 million in the foundation.

Research has generated evidence that secondhand smoke causes the same problems as direct smoking, including lung cancer, cardiovascular disease and lung ailments such as emphysema, bronchitis and asthma. Specifically, meta-analyses show that lifelong non-smokers with partners who smoke in the home have a 20–30 percent greater risk of lung cancer than non-smokers who live with non-smokers. Non-smokers exposed to cigarette smoke in the workplace have an increased lung cancer risk of 16–19 percent.

A study issued in 2002 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization concluded that non-smokers are exposed to the same carcinogens as active smokers. Sidestream smoke contains 69 known carcinogens, particularly benzopyrene and other polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, and radioactive decay products, such as polonium 210. Several well-established carcinogens have been shown by the tobacco companies' own research to be present at higher concentrations in secondhand smoke than in mainstream smoke.

In 1973, Arizona became the first state in the United States to pass a comprehensive law restricting smoking in public places. California enacted a workplace smoking ban in 1994, and a complete smoking ban in enclosed spaces in 1998. Florida made a workplace smoking ban part of its state constitution in 2002. Washington State passed initiative 901 in 2005, banning smoking within 25 feet of public buildings or places of employment. In 2003, the state of New York banned smoking in most public places, excluding cigar bars, members-only social clubs and Native American gambling parlors.

In March 2004, Ireland was the first country to establish a nationwide smoking ban in all enclosed workplaces. The ban now extends, voluntarily, outside of buildings. For example, smoking is not allowed at the entrances to buildings at Dublin Airport, but only in areas where signs indicate that smoking is permitted. In 2008, Ireland will ban advertising in shops (advertising is already banned in print and on radio, television, and billboards) and ensure that cigarettes are not visible in stores.

Norway followed Ireland then New Zealand was the third country to follow Ireland on December 10 2004. Italy introduced a full ban on 10 January 2005. Estonia had smoking banned on 5 June 2007 in all facilities that serve food, including bars and nightclubs. Bar owners were allowed to provide special rooms for smoking without food or beverage service, but few did. Each nation of the United Kingdom implemented a similar ban: Scotland on 26 March 2006; Wales on 02 April 2007; Northern Ireland on 30 April 2007; England on 1 July 2007. France established a ban in January 2008 when the existing ban was extended to cover bars and cafés. Denmark banned smoking in clubs and restaurants on 15 August 2007, although the legislation made exemptions for small bars and restaurants with separate smoking rooms. Sweden established a similar ban on July 1, 2005. The Netherlands and Romania banned smoking in bars and clubs on 1 July 2008.

Spain has a law, introduced by the Spanish Socialist Party, which came into force at the start of 2006 and bans smoking in workplaces. It has some restrictions for public places, such as airports and train stations, but Pubs, restaurants and other public places smaller than 100 m² are exempted.

South Africa introduced the Tobacco Products Control Act in 1993. The act was amended several times and currently smoking is restricted in all public areas, such as the workplace, restaurants and bars, shopping malls, sports venues and airports. The act also bans the advertising of any tobacco product.

The only country to have banned the sale and smoking of tobacco is Bhutan, in early 2005. In 2008, the island nation of Niue began considering banning smoking and the sale of tobacco in public areas and private homes.