NEW YORK— Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire who has made reducing smoking one of his signature causes as mayor of New York City, is committing US$220 million to his charity to go toward reducing tobacco use in countries that are home to millions of smokers. He announced his four-year commitment to Bloomberg Philanthropies at the 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Singapore yesterday. The new commitment will bring the total amount he has directed to his eponymous charity to over US$600 million for anti-smoking efforts since 2007.
Bloomberg, who made his fortune in the financial services industry, was ranked fifth on the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list of 50 of the “most generous donors” for 2011. His new commitment will go toward initiatives including smoke-free laws, graphic pack warnings and raising taxes, charity officials said. The focus will be on country-level change, particularly in China, India, Indonesia, Russia and Bangladesh, which officials say account for the largest share of tobacco use in the world. (AP)