People have died from tobacco-related diseases since the opening of the first FCTC working group on 28 October 1999.
A Framework Convention Alliance regional coordinator has received an award for leadership in the fight against tobacco use in Latin America and globally.
Laura Salgado, the Alliance’s first Latin American regional coordinator, received the first annual Judy Wilkenfeld Award for International Tobacco Control Excellence at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids annual awards gala in Washington DC.
The award was established to honor the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ international program founder Judy Wilkenfeld who passed away in May 2007. It recognizes international tobacco control advocates who contribute significantly to reducing tobacco use and inspire others to do the same, in the spirit exemplified by Wilkenfeld.
Salgado works extensively throughout the world, particularly Latin America, in tobacco control.
In 2003, she worked on a smoke-free universities project and became active in the alliance. In 2005, she founded Acción para la Promoción de Ambientes Libres de Tabaco (Promoting Action for a Smoke-Free Environment) and participated in the International Symposium on Women and Tobacco in Spain. She also serves on the steering committee of the Global Smokefree Partnership. While in 2006, Salgado became the alliance’s first Latin American regional coordinator where she works with Latin American organizations and governments to advance the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). So far 23 Latin American countries have ratified the FCTC.
Salgado’s work is crucial in Latin America where 15 to 20 percent of men over 30 in Honduras die annually from tobacco related illnesses. While in Brazil 200,000 deaths a year are related to tobacco and in Mexico, one quarter of the population over 12 smokes and 147 die daily from tobacco-related disease.
Salgado said that tobacco use causes so much harm to health in Honduras and throughout Latin America. “My passion is for a smoke-free Latin America, and I will continue to fight to make that dream a reality,” she said.