Chancellor's Health Policy Lecture to Feature Global Tobacco Control

Judith Mackay

Tobacco companies identify Judith Mackay, MD, as one of the most dangerous people in the world, while Time magazine identifies her as one of the most influential. In fact, this year Mackay, whose work focuses on addressing the rise of global tobacco use, made Time's list of 100 people described as a "hero and pioneer." A senior policy adviser for the World Health Organization (WHO) and director of the Asian Consultancy on Tobacco Control, Mackay will be the guest speaker for the upcoming Chancellor's Health Policy Lecture. Mackay's talk, titled "Global Tobacco Control: Making Headway," will focus on the systems being put in place around the world to reduce the tobacco epidemic. The campus community is invited to the free lecture, which is scheduled from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 9, in Health Sciences West (HSW), room 302, on the Parnassus campus. Space is limited and a live video transmission will be broadcast in HSW 300 for the overflow audience. Mackay is the author of The Tobacco Atlas, which seeks to educate legislators and encourage them to implement policies that will in turn educate their citizens on the effects of smoking. Mackay, FRCP(Edin), FRCP(Lon), is director of Global Tobacco Control Programmes and project coordinator of the Bloomberg Global Initiative, World Lung Foundation. Although the number of smokers is expected to rise from 1.3 billion to more than 1.6 billion by 2030 -- and the number of tobacco deaths due to double -- Mackay will report on positive changes around the world to reduce this epidemic. These include the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which has been signed by 168 member states and ratified by 148, making it one of the fastest-track United Nations treaties of all time. The FCTC places governments under internationally binding obligations to implement comprehensive national tobacco control policies, Mackay says. Concurrently, major international benefactors are now starting to fund global tobacco control, according to Mackay. For example, the Bloomberg Global Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use in low- to middle-income countries has launched a two-year, $125 million pilot project, working with partners such as the World Lung Foundation, WHO, Tobacco-Free Kids, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation, and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The project includes establishing resource centers, a grants program, tobacco surveys, management courses for tobacco control, an international legal consortium and a media center. At the country level, the project focuses on what is known to work in tobacco control, especially tax increases, bans on promotion and the creation of smoke-free environments. About 120 people are being employed in the project, creating a career path in tobacco control worldwide. About Mackay Mackay received her medical degree from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. She has lived in Hong Kong since 1967, initially working as a hospital physician in university and government hospitals, then, since 1984, concentrating on public health, mainly tobacco control. In 1987, she became the founding executive director of the government-appointed Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health. Mackay resigned in 1989 to establish the Asian Consultancy on Tobacco Control, a coordinating organization to facilitate the sharing of information, experience and expertise on tobacco control among countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Her particular twin interests are countering the transnational tobacco companies in developing countries, and women and tobacco. Over the last 25 years, she has gained extensive experience in working with national governments and health organizations in most countries in Asia to develop comprehensive tobacco control policies and legislation. In addition, she has been invited to advise on tobacco control policies in the European, South Asian, Middle Eastern and African regions. She has been integrally involved with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control since its moment of inception. She has published 180 academic papers and addressed more than 370 conferences worldwide on varied aspects of tobacco control. She serves on the editorial board of the BMJ journal Tobacco Control and acts as a reviewer for numerous journals. She was awarded the prestigious 1996 Lilly Lectureship by the Royal College of Physicians of London. In addition, Mackay has a long history of involvement with governmental and civic issues, having served on the Women's Commission, the Independent Commission Against Corruption, and sports and hospital boards. Related Links: Time magazine, Heroes & Pioneers, Judith Mackay Time Asia, 60 Years of Asian Heroes, Judith Mackay