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Finance leaders today came together with world leaders from government and health for the first time to pledge commitment to tobacco-free finance policies across lending, insurance and investment. The Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge – of which The Union is a founding signatory – was launched at a side event of the UN General Assembly, and included more than 120 founding signatories and supporters. Finance has long been a missing piece of tobacco control with financing of the industry through lending, insurance and investment being treated as business as usual. The Pledge ensures that tobacco-free finance is now on the agendas of financial institutions boards around the world, and aims to denormalise tobacco as a part of standard investment practices. Organisations who have signed up to the pledge represent trillions of dollars of capital, including assets under management of over USD 6.4 trillion, corporate loan books of over USD 1.8 trillion and insurance premiums of over USD 179 billion. Dr. Bronwyn King, Radiation Oncologist and CEO of Tobacco Free Portfolios who initiated the pledge, said: “I am delighted that Tobacco Free Portfolios has founded The Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge in partnership with global leaders. This initiative exemplifies the action required to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and brings us closer to a tobacco-free world.” Tobacco kills more than seven million people each year and according to the World Health Organization, tobacco consumption is the single largest preventable cause of death.

Tobacco control enforcement teams in Shenzhen, China, have launched a round of targeted inspections of tobacco vendors near schools to ensure the law prohibiting tobacco sales to children is being upheld. The first round of inspections was carried out covertly by tobacco control enforcement officers accompanied by members of the media between 25 June and 20 July 2018.

Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced The Union as one of the organisations selected to lead a new US$ 20 million project to crack down on tobacco industry influence particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

In a landmark victory for tobacco control and public health, the government of Uruguay has introduced plain or standardised packaging of tobacco products thanks to an executive decree issued by President Tabaré Vázquez. Plain packaging is proven to discourage people from taking up tobacco use, and is particularly effective for children and young people.

Myanmar held its inaugural conference focused on reducing tobacco use and other risk factors for non-communicable diseases (NCDs), exploring how to develop cost effective interventions at national and sub-national levels and, and how to raise public awareness.

The ‘10th Workshop on Law and Tobacco Control for Latin America’ took place at the O’Neill Institute, Georgetown University, Washington DC, last week. The three-day event, 10-13 June, focused on new nicotine products. It was run collaboratively by The Union, the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the O’Neill Institute.

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