Every year, WHO recognises individuals or organisations in each of the six WHO Regions. This year, Dr Tania Cavalcante of the National Cancer Institute in Brazil, a UICC member organisation, and Executive Secretary of the National Committee for the Implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control received one of the awards for the Americas region; the Tobacco Control Unit of the Catalan Institute of Oncology in Spain and the Samoa Cancer Society, two UICC member organisations, were recipients respectively for the European and Western Pacific regions; and UICC’s Immediate Past President (201-2018), HRH Princess Dina Mired of Jordan was one of the recipients for the Eastern Mediterranean region.
The Samoa Cancer Society is one of the organisations selected as part of UICC’s Cancer Advocates programme and aims to facilitate the early detection and treatment of cancer and provide access to palliative care for people living with cancer. The World No Tobacco Day Award recognises the success of this advocacy mission, in this case raising awareness among the public not only about the risks of tobacco use and cessation options but also about the dangers of tobacco production and interference by the tobacco industry, which hinders the implementation of effective tobacco control policies.
“The Samoa Cancer Society was a crucial supporter and advocate for the recent progress that the Ministry of Health such as the National Tobacco Control Committee and the 2019 amendments to the Tobacco Control Act. We are honoured to receive this award in recognition for the team’s work and believe it will help further support our message, strengthen our campaign against tobacco industry influence and promote a healthier, smoke-free lifestyle for everyone in Samoa.”
– Su’a John Ryan, Chief Executive Officer, Samoa Cancer Society
The Samoa Cancer Society will be participating in UICC’s next Virtual Dialogue in the Tobacco Control and Cancer series.
The main objectives of the Tobacco Control Unit at the Institut Català d’Oncologia (Catalan Institute of Oncology) are to work on prevention and increase knowledge among the general population and specific vulnerable groups of the risks associated with tobacco smoking and other forms of use, as well as the risks of exposure to second-hand smoke and aerosols of e-cigarettes.
The Unit develops epidemiological and implementation research, which includes projects such as the impact of passive exposure to smoke and aerosols by means of questionnaires, environmental and biologic markers; interventions to promote smoke-free places and cessation among cancer patients; and the burden of disease caused by smoking and second-hand smoke. The Unit is responsible for intervention initiatives such as the Catalan Network of Smoke-Free Hospitals and the cessation clinic at the Catalan Institute of Oncology. It also promotes the training of health care professionals and undergraduate students in health sciences.
“The Unit is proud of this award, in recognition of our work during the last 20 years. For us, it also recognised all our partners and networks that we have created or contributed to. It has been the work of a terrific, young, committed, multidisciplinary team. The Unit will continue working comprehensively for tobacco control at the “glocal” level, in other words to help implement tobacco control interventions and research projects at the local and global level.”
– Esteve Fernández, Director of the Tobacco Control Unit of the Catalan Institute of Oncology
The award given to Dr Tania Cavalcante, Executive Secretary of the National Commission for the implementation of the FCTC in Brazil, draws attention to the successes of the country’s national tobacco control policy, a project that involved several sectors and overseen by the Ministry of Health.
“Brazil’s tobacco control policy has managed to reduce the prevalence of smoking in the country to a single digit, and its successful model of intersectoral coordination is used as a reference by WHO for other countries. As the Brazilian FCTC implementation Executive Secretary is hosted at the National Cancer Institute, we are particularly pleased by this award. The international recognition shows that the Tobacco Control policy in Brazil is on the right path.”
– Ana Cristina Pinho Mendes Pereira, General Director/CEO, Instituto Nacional de Câncer José Alencar Gomes da Silva and member of UICC’s Board of Directors
Since 2002, H.R.H. Princess Dina Mired of Jordan, UICC’s Immediate Past President (2018-2020), has been a prominent figure and leading advocate for tobacco control globally as well as in her own country, which has one of the highest incidences of tobacco use in the world. She has been a keynote speaker at many international and local conferences about tobacco control and cancer care and has written several opinion pieces on the topic. Currently, she is Global Ambassador for Tobacco-Free Portfolios.
As Director-General of the King Hussein Cancer Foundation from 2002 to 2016, Princess Dina worked to strengthen national tobacco control, leading a coalition of anti-tobacco NGOs to change national tobacco laws and convince the Ministry of Finance to allocate five million Jordanian dinars in tobacco tax for cancer treatment. She established a “Smoke-Free Zone Certification Program”, which incentivises institutions to enforce a smoking ban on their facilities amid a lack of law enforcement, and created the “King Hussein Cancer Foundation Media Award” to encourage more media engagement and awareness raising on the issue of tobacco control.
In June 2019, she was Co-Chair of the first national multi-sectorial committee under H.E the Prime Minister. She continues to work with WHO and the Ministry of Health in Jordan at high-level events, engaging ministers and heads of national institutions in one-on-one meetings on the issue of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products. And she has lobbied tirelessly for the implementation of smoke-free public spaces and other measures, as well as for monitoring tobacco industry influence in Jordan. These efforts met with success in July 2020, when Jordan banned smoking and vaping in indoor public spaces.
“I am grateful and honoured to receive the World No Tobacco Day Award, which in some way caps more than 20 years of struggle to prevent cancer and other diseases by reducing the level of tobacco control. There have been achievements, but the road ahead is still long and I think this Award provides all those who received it with the energy to continue our efforts on tobacco control.”
– HRH Princess Dina Mired of Jordan, Immediate Past President of UICC