Born in 1940, Dr Tabaré Vázquez was an oncologist who served two terms as President of Uruguay from (2005-2010 and 2015-2020). He was a long-standing global advocate for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and was particularly engaged in promoting tobacco cessation.
Under his leadership, Uruguay led the way in reducing tobacco use through the implementation of the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control and was the first country in Latin America to ban smoking in enclosed public spaces in 2006. In 2016, President Vázquez played a major role in Uruguay’s victory in court against Philipp Morris International to ensure that the health risks associated with smoking were visible on cigarette packaging. Two years later, Uruguay became the first country in the region to require plain packaging for cigarettes.
Dr Vázquez was also recognized for his work in reforming the health system in Uruguay to support universal health coverage.
To celebrate his outstanding work and his efforts to advance cancer care and control, UICC conferred on President Vázquez its inaugural Outstanding Contribution to Cancer Control award. The prize was given at the gala ceremony opening the 2019 World Cancer Leaders' Summit in Nur-sultan, Kazakhstan. It was received by his son Dr Alvaro Vázquez, a medical oncologist, H.E. Dr Jorge Basso, Minister of Public Health of Uruguay and H.E. Mr Rodolfo Nin Novoa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay, as President Vázquez had then been diagnosed with lung cancer, from which he passed away this weekend.
UICC honours Dr Vázquez’s professional as well as personal fights against cancer and expresses its deep condolences to his family for their great loss.