Bill Gates

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Mumbai, Jul 24 (UNI) The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Michael Bloomberg have committed 500 million US Dollars towards implementation of programmes and policies against tobacco use in developing countries.

The funding will provide additional resources and facilitate in taking urgent preventive and remedial measures.

With this commitment, Mr Bloomberg's total commitment aggregates to more than USD 375 million including its ''Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use'', which was established in 2005.

The Bill&Melinda Gates Foundation will invest USD 125 million over five years to fight the tobacco epidemic, including a USD 24 million grant, to the Bloomberg Initiative, announced a release here today.

The combined investment is expected to accelerate the implementation of the MPOWER -- Monitor tobacco use and the policies to prevent it, Protect people from tobacco smoke, Offer people help to quit tobacco use, Warn about the dangers of tobacco, Enforce ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship and Raise taxes on tobacco over the next two years.

According to the World Health Organisation figures, tobacco use had killed one hundred million people in the 20th century and if current trends continue, it will claim one billion lives in the 21st century. The habit claims 5.4 million people annually, with more than 80 per cent of tobacco-caused deaths expected to occur in developing countries in the coming decades, added the release.

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