Romanian honored in the U.S. for leadership in fight against tobacco use

Ramona Brad, the project director of the 2035 Tobacco-Free Romania Initiative, will be honored with the 2018 Judy Wilkenfeld Award for International Tobacco Control Excellence for her leadership in the fight against tobacco use in Romania.

She will receive the award from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids during a gala scheduled for May 24 in Washington, D.C.

The Wilkenfeld Award was established in honor of the late Judy Wilkenfeld, the founder of Tobacco-Free Kids’ international program. Judy Wilkenfeld was a leader in the effort to reduce tobacco use and in the adoption of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), the influential international treaty that commits countries to take strong action to reduce tobacco use. The award is given annually to an international tobacco control advocate who has made extraordinary contributions to reducing tobacco use in low- and middle-income countries.

From the position of project director of the 2035 Tobacco-Free Romania Initiative, Ramona Brad leads a national campaign aimed at eliminating the death and disease caused by tobacco use in Romania. She launched the initiative following her work at the Romania Breathes Coalition, where she spearheaded efforts to pass a national smoke-free law. In the year after the law was passed, hospitalizations of children for acute respiratory disease declined by 6%, restaurant revenues increased by 20%, and 70% of Romanian smokers approved of the law, according to a press release from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Through the 2035 Tobacco-Free Romania Initiative, Brad has continued to broaden support for tobacco control throughout Romania. She even won the support of Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, who hosted the campaign’s launch at the presidential palace – a first for a public health initiative. Along with her colleagues, she has successfully advocated for implementation of the European Union’s Tobacco Products Directive and government authorization to introduce plain tobacco packaging, removing misleading branding from tobacco packs.

In 2016, Ramona Brad was recognized by the U.S. Embassy of Romania, which presented her with a Women of Courage Award.

“The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is proud to recognize Ramona Brad for her courageous, tireless and exceptional leadership in working to reduce tobacco use and save lives,” said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Globally, tobacco kills seven million people each year and is projected to kill one billion people this century unless governments take effective action now to reduce tobacco use, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

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Irina Marica, [email protected]

Romania Insider
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