April 25, 2024

Analytical team

Unmasking Smoke: Assessing the Effectiveness of the Bloomberg Tobacco Campaign

"Unmasking Smoke: Assessing the Effectiveness and Impact of the Bloomberg Global Tobacco Campaign"

Executive Summary

The Global Tobacco Campaign led by Michael Bloomberg through the Bloomberg Initiative has been both lauded and criticized for its efforts to combat tobacco use globally. With a pledge of $1.58 billion since 2005, Bloomberg's initiative has aimed to reduce tobacco consumption in low and middle-income countries. However, questions have been raised about the motivations behind Bloomberg's campaign, with critics citing concerns about financial influence on policy decisions and potential conflicts of interest.

Criticism has also been directed at Bloomberg's advocacy tactics, including accusations of paternalism and infringement on personal freedoms through policies such as outdoor smoking bans and raising the legal age for tobacco purchase. Despite Bloomberg's success as a businessman and politician, his methods in combating tobacco use have faced skepticism and scrutiny.

Criticism extends to Bloomberg's lobbying efforts within international health organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) and his influence on global tobacco control policies. While Bloomberg's philanthropic contributions have supported initiatives to reduce tobacco use, concerns linger about undue influence and conflicts of interest.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has undertaken targeted efforts to address tobacco control in Central Asia, focusing on legislative advocacy and media campaigns. However, transparency issues regarding funding sources and policy advocacy strategies have raised doubts about the effectiveness and credibility of these initiatives.

In conclusion, while the Bloomberg Initiative's Global Tobacco Campaign has mobilized resources and attention toward combating tobacco use globally and in Central Asian countries, critical questions remain about its effectiveness, transparency, and impact.

Global Tobacco Campaign of Bloomberg Initiative

Michael Bloomberg's efforts to reduce global tobacco use through the Bloomberg Initiative have received both praise and criticism. Since 2005, Bloomberg has pledged $1.58 billion to combat tobacco use in low and middle-income countries. However, concerns have been raised about Bloomberg's financial influence on policy decisions, with some critics equating his contributions to bribery for foreign governments and NGOs. Questions remain about his motivations and the effectiveness of his tactics. Some critics argue that there is a conflict of interest with Bloomberg's fortune being built on a financial information system used by the tobacco industry. Furthermore, Bloomberg's anti-tobacco campaign has faced accusations of paternalism and infringement on personal freedoms. Critics say banning smoking outdoors and raising the legal age for buying tobacco limit individual freedom. Public health is important, but it shouldn't restrict individual rights. This research highlights the complexities and criticisms of Bloomberg's anti-tobacco efforts.

Is his current campaign purely philanthropic, or is there a touch of penance involved; Who is Michael Bloomberg?

He is a billionaire founder of Bloomberg LP and former mayor of New York City. Bloomberg uses his wealth to influence politics and push his policies. His political ambitions have taken many forms, from mayor to unsuccessful presidential candidate. Bloomberg was elected as NYC mayor in 2001. During his three terms in office, he was known as a pragmatic and business-minded leader. He implemented policies to boost the city's economy, improve public health, and tackle climate change. His administration focused on reducing crime rates and implementing strict public health measures (including banning smoking indoors). Although, Bloomberg's time as mayor was not without controversy. Critics claimed he was out of touch with ordinary New Yorkers, especially on income inequality and police accountability.

His support for controversial policing tactics like stop-and-frisk drew criticism, particularly from communities of color who were most affected by these policies. Despite criticisms, Bloomberg's political influence grew due to his wealth and media empire. He considered running for president as an independent in 2008 and 2012 but chose not to. In 2019, Bloomberg entered national politics by running for the Democratic presidential nomination. His campaign stood out for its huge spending and unconventional tactics. He skipped early primary states and targeted Super Tuesday, spending heavily on advertising and investing millions of dollars in his campaign. Despite his wealth and political machine, Bloomberg's presidential bid failed. After a disappointing start in primaries, he ended his campaign. He endorsed Joe Biden, the eventual Democratic nominee. He played a key role in funding Democratic efforts for the 2020 election and advocates for gun control, climate change, and public health.

Bloomberg’s Anti-Tobacco Lobbying:

Bloomberg has invested nearly $1.58 billion since 2005 in combating tobacco use globally, establishing himself as a major player in the field. His charities, such as Bloomberg Philanthropies, fund organizations and campaigns, that influence global tobacco control policies. Bloomberg's organizations act as a "private government," shaping policy decisions through funding, drafting laws, and working directly with government leaders. Concerns were raised about the ethical implications of such practices with parallels to bribery.

Bloomberg's anti-tobacco efforts were criticized for emphasis on banning harm-reducing technologies like vaping. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) backed by Bloomberg Philanthropies, faced criticism for paying moms to post anti-vaping messages on social media. Critics denounced the approach for lacking grassroots support and potentially restricting adult access to harm-reduction products.

Bloomberg-funded groups are directly working with government leaders and drafting legislation raising concerns about potential undue influence and ethical implications. While aiming to reduce smoking rates, the focus on banning or severely restricting alternatives to traditional smoking questions the true motives behind anti-tobacco efforts.

There is a concern that Bloomberg's initiatives may focus more on policy battles than on reducing smoking rates or improving public health outcomes. Bloomberg's anti-tobacco initiatives go beyond taxes and advertising restrictions to include direct engagement with policymakers and funding lobbying efforts. Reports suggest that Bloomberg's groups position themselves as essential resources for regulators and lawmakers, influencing global tobacco control policies. This raises concerns about a global lobbying network and exploiting developing countries for broader agendas. Bloomberg's initiatives have significant implications for developing nations, where foreign NGOs can influence policy decisions. While the intention may be to support tobacco control efforts, the methods employed raise questions about interference in internal affairs. Critics advocate for local initiatives and experts over external agendas.

Bloomberg Initiative in World Health Organization & COP:

Bloomberg uses his wealth to influence international health organizations like the WHO. Since 2005, Bloomberg has funded tobacco control efforts in low- and middle-income countries. His philanthropic organization, Bloomberg Philanthropies, works closely with the WHO and partners to reduce tobacco use. One of their key collaborations is implementing the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), an international treaty to reduce tobacco demand and supply. Bloomberg Philanthropies supports FCTC implementation, including tobacco taxation, smoke-free laws, and advertising bans.

Bloomberg also influences WHO in public health beyond just tobacco control. His investments have supported initiatives to improve road safety, address urban health challenges, and strengthen health data systems. Critics worry about Bloomberg's influence on WHO and other health agencies. Some argue that his philanthropic contributions may unduly influence the priorities and agenda-setting processes of these organizations, potentially leading to conflicts of interest or biases in decision-making.

Bloomberg has used his resources to support COP meetings and promote evidence-based strategies to reduce global tobacco use. These meetings, organized by the WHO FCTC, help countries coordinate efforts to implement the treaty's provisions and reduce tobacco demand and supply.

Bloomberg recognized the importance of working together to address the tobacco issue, as shown by his involvement in COP sessions. His philanthropic organization, Bloomberg Philanthropies, plays a key role in contributing to these meetings. Despite controversies, Bloomberg's activities with COP meetings continue. Some critics are concerned about the influence of Bloomberg in COP. They argue that influence may undermine the autonomy and integrity of the COP discussions potentially leading to conflicts or biases in decision-making.

What is The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK)?

Over the past decade, CTFK has been actively involved in the Bloomberg Tobacco Reduction Initiative, which aims to save lives by combating tobacco use worldwide. The campaign focuses on advocating policy change in low- and middle-income countries in line with the Bloomberg Initiative, with significant achievements in priority countries such as Bangladesh, China, India, Russia, and Indonesia. These achievements include policy changes related to smoke-free environments, tobacco advertising, sales promotion, sponsorship, and pictorial health warning labels. In addition, the campaign made progress in promoting tobacco taxation and secured tax increases in several countries. In addition, the campaign contributed to global anti-smoking victories, such as Uruguay's success in arbitration against Philip Morris International.

What CTFK it achieved and how?

The campaign has focused on achieving significant policy changes in each priority country, including advocating for tobacco tax increases. The objectives align with the MPOWER package, seeking comprehensive protection from secondhand smoke, large pictorial health warnings, and bans on tobacco advertising, sponsorship, and promotion. Additionally, the campaign has expanded tax advocacy work, particularly in India, the Philippines, and Ukraine. It has also addressed tobacco industry interference, aiming to hold the industry accountable through exposure, litigation, and capacity-building efforts.

While the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has achieved notable successes in advancing tobacco control policies globally, some aspects warrant critical examination. Firstly, the campaign's emphasis on tax increases as a primary strategy may overlook the nuanced socio-economic factors affecting tobacco use, potentially neglecting alternative approaches to reducing tobacco consumption. Moreover, the reliance on external funding from entities like Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation raises questions about the sustainability and autonomy of the campaign's initiatives. There's a risk that the prioritization of funders' objectives may overshadow local priorities and needs, undermining the efficacy of tobacco control efforts in LMICs. Additionally, the focus on litigation against the tobacco industry, while important, may divert resources away from community-based interventions and grassroots advocacy efforts, limiting the campaign's impact on the ground.

Questionable Effectiveness and Counterproductive Outcomes

Despite Bloomberg's assertions of success, the effectiveness of his anti-smoking programs remains dubious. In Turkey, hailed as a success story by WHO standards, adult smoking rates paradoxically surged from 27% to 31% between 2012 and 2018. Similarly, in the Philippines, aggressive anti-smoking measures driven by Bloomberg's lobbyists led to widespread arrests and penalties, exacerbating the issue instead of mitigating it.

Bloomberg's advocacy for aggressive tax hikes inadvertently incentivizes tobacco smuggling, driving consumers towards illicit markets. This not only undermines legitimate businesses but also poses significant health risks due to the unregulated nature of smuggled products.

The implementation of Bloomberg-backed policies, particularly bans on flavored tobacco products, has yielded unintended consequences for public health. Studies in California indicate a marked increase in youth smoking following such bans, suggesting a counterproductive outcome. Bloomberg's funding is predominantly directed towards developing nations, raising questions about his true motivations and potential conflicts of interest.

Critics speculate that Bloomberg's anti-smoking initiatives serve as a guise for establishing a global lobbying network. By funding anti-smoking NGOs, he gains influence over developing nations, potentially leveraging them to advance broader agendas. Bloomberg-backed groups prioritize the establishment of a global lobbying network over crafting effective legislation, resulting in poorly devised anti-tobacco initiatives.

Analysis of the 2017 Strategy Document of the Anti-Tobacco Campaign:

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids' Executive Summary outlines a decade of work in global tobacco control, highlighting achievements, strategies, and goals for the future. While commendable progress has been made, a critical analysis reveals areas of concern and potential shortcomings.

The document boasts significant policy changes in priority countries, citing achievements in implementing health warnings and tobacco tax increases. However, the claim of saving over 30 million lives is based on estimates, and lacking empirical evidence. Without robust data, such assertions risk overstating impact and credibility.

Despite policy progress, a gap exists between enactment and effective implementation. While policies may be adopted, enforcement and compliance remain challenges, particularly in LMICs. Without addressing this implementation gap, the impact of policy changes may be limited, undermining the overall effectiveness of efforts.

The document outlines priorities for the coming years, focusing on select LMICs and policy objectives aligned with funders' priorities. While strategic prioritization is essential, the exclusion of certain countries or regions raises questions about equity and inclusivity. Neglecting certain areas may perpetuate disparities in tobacco control efforts.

Efforts to tackle industry interference are outlined, including exposure campaigns and litigation. However, the absence of specific objectives for holding the tobacco industry accountable at a global level is notable. Without clear targets for industry accountability, efforts may lack teeth, allowing the industry to continue exerting influence unchecked.

The summary sets ambitious goals, including saving 100 million lives and strengthening tobacco control movements. While aspirations are commendable, the lack of concrete metrics for measuring success raises concerns about accountability and evaluation. Without clear benchmarks, assessing progress becomes challenging, hindering strategic decision-making.

CTFK campaign in the Central Asia:

CTFK has undertaken a targeted approach to address tobacco control in the Central Asia region, encompassing Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Mongolia. Here's a breakdown of their activities and strategies:

- Passing Strong Legislation: Efforts are underway to advocate for comprehensive tobacco control laws in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, alongside enhanced enforcement mechanisms to combat nasvai use in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

- Blocking Industry Influence: Strategies involve countering tobacco industry interference through targeted advocacy campaigns, media engagement, and capacity-building initiatives aimed at strengthening regulatory frameworks and enforcement mechanisms.

- Identifying Policy Opportunities: The focus is on identifying opportunities to pass robust tobacco control legislation in each country, leveraging regional partnerships and international support to overcome political inertia and industry resistance.

- Building Regional Capacity: Activities include promoting knowledge-sharing, skill-building, and peer exchange opportunities to enhance local capacity in tobacco control advocacy, policy analysis, and enforcement.

While the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) has outlined a comprehensive strategy for addressing tobacco control in the Central Asia region, there are several areas where their activities may face criticism and challenges related to transparency:

Lack of Transparency in Funding Sources: CTFK's activities rely heavily on funding from various sources, including grants and donations. However, the transparency of these funding sources may be questioned, especially if there is a lack of clarity regarding the identities of donors or any potential conflicts of interest. Without full transparency in funding sources, there could be concerns about the influence of donors on CTFK's advocacy priorities and strategies. While CTFK advocates for evidence-based tobacco control policies endorsed by the WHO FCTC, there may be concerns about bias in their advocacy efforts. If CTFK receives funding from certain organizations or entities with vested interests in specific policy outcomes, there could be questions about the objectivity and impartiality of their advocacy work. Transparency in funding sources and potential conflicts of interest is essential to maintain credibility and trustworthiness in policy advocacy.

CTFK Projects in the Central Asia:

CTFK through its partners continues to fund projects in the region. We dive into their project activities per country:


In Kazakhstan, the enforcement of smoke-free policies was an initiative undertaken by the Public Fund 'Center of Support and the Development of Public Health in Kazakhstan' (PF) between August 2007 and December 2008. With a focus on Almaty, the project aimed to bolster the implementation and enforcement of smoke-free policies while advocating for higher tobacco taxes. This targeted effort not only sought to create smoke-free environments in public spaces but also aimed to address the economic aspect of tobacco control by advocating for tax increases.

Jamila Sadykova, a project manager of this project is a prominent advocate for tobacco control in Kazakhstan, she’s leading initiatives at both local and national levels. She spearheads the "For Smoke-free Kazakhstan" coalition, advocating for stricter tobacco control measures and conducting awareness campaigns. Notably, her efforts in Almaty resulted in increased enforcement of tobacco laws. Sadykova actively engages with government officials to prioritize tobacco control, emphasizing the health impacts of smoking. Additionally, she focuses on research and education to raise awareness among medical professionals and the public. Currently, she continues to contribute to tobacco control efforts through various advisory roles and participation in international working groups. Jamila Sadykova in the past also received funding from the Open Society Foundation to support her tobacco control initiatives in Kazakhstan.

Jamila Sadykova's role in tobacco control initiatives in Kazakhstan appears commendable on the surface, with her leadership in advocacy and awareness campaigns. However, despite her prominent position, there seems to be ambiguity regarding her specific intentions and goals within the broader context of tobacco control. Jamila is actively involved in the formation of political forces that effectively harness Bloomberg's financial resources to further their respective initiatives, thereby establishing a significant precedent for political interference.Moreover, Sadykova's attempt to become an MP is evident in her efforts to establish a lobbying network and influence policymakers. By doing so, she aimed not only to extend Bloomberg's influence in Kazakhstan but also to advance her own political aspirations. This suggests that her primary goal isn't solely to combat tobacco but also to fulfill her personal ambitions by becoming a prominent figure in Kazakhstani politics.

Sadykova is also distributing the Bloomberg funds across the region to her colleagues and partners. She attempts to distance herself from any association with Bloomberg's funding, yet she was compelled to acknowledge this connection during a court proceeding in 2011. Then, she confirmed in court that she received a $106,000 grant from the Bloomberg Initiative To Reduce Tobacco Use Grants Program. She argued that it was not directly from the Bloomberg Foundation but part of a global initiative against tobacco smoking in low-income countries. Sadykova had previously denied receiving grants from abroad. She claimed there was a deliberate campaign against her organized by the tobacco lobby, with the Union of Sports Journalists allegedly involved. However, the editor-in-chief of the Megapolis newspaper refuted her claim. The plaintiffs sought 10 million tenge in compensation for moral damage. The defendant, editor-in-chief of the Kazakhstan Today news agency, believed Sadykova's court appeal was merely a PR tactic.

In 2023, Svetlana Romanovskaya, head of the National League of Consumers (NLC), won a lawsuit against Jamila Sadykova. The court ordered Sadykova to pay Romanovskaya 600,000 tenge in court costs. Sadykova had sued Romanovskaya for defamation after Romanovskaya accused her of serving the interests of cigarette manufacturers by advocating for a ban on vapes and other less harmful alternatives to cigarettes. Romanovskaya and the NLC criticized Sadykova for focusing on banning vapes instead of combating traditional cigarettes. They also raised concerns about Sadykova’s funding sources, pointing out that her NGO “Temeksiz” is not listed in the registry of NGOs receiving foreign funding. The NLC called for government agencies to investigate Sadykova's activities as a foreign agent. Additionally, the NLC had further questions for Sadykova regarding her funding for foreign trips and the expectations of her foreign grantors. They believe addressing these inquiries will clarify who benefits from Sadykova’s activism.

Following the public scandals, Sadykova began receiving grants without disclosing the identities of the grantors. Only, in the last four years, she received grants in the amount of 600,000 USD.


The Public Foundation "Health Protection Foundation" project commenced in November 2017 and concluded in May 2019. Their primary objective was to advocate for the passage of comprehensive national tobacco control legislation aligned with the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). With a strategic focus on reducing tobacco prevalence in Kyrgyzstan, this project aimed to address the multifaceted challenges posed by tobacco use. By promoting legislation that adheres to international standards, the foundation sought to implement effective measures to curb tobacco consumption, protect public health, and mitigate the socioeconomic burden associated with tobacco-related illnesses. Through targeted advocacy efforts and collaboration with stakeholders, the Health Protection Foundation played a pivotal role in advancing tobacco control policies. Online information center under this project: HELP.KG website was created in September 2008. Help.Kg domain is registered by the Kyrgyz Republican Center for Health Promotion and Mass Communication under the Ministry of Health.


The "Life Without Tobacco" project, led by the Avicenna Public Foundation in Uzbekistan, is a comprehensive initiative aimed at addressing tobacco use in the country. With funding from the Bloomberg Initiative, this project endeavors to improve the legislative framework surrounding tobacco control and raise public awareness about the harms of tobacco use.

Led by Nozimkhon Makhmudov, the Avicenna Foundation has a history of involvement in tobacco control efforts, collaborating with international organizations such as the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the Kazakhstan Tobacco-Free Movement. The foundation's expertise and partnerships position it well to spearhead this initiative.

The project proposal outlines a budget of $75,000 to be utilized over 12 months. One of the core objectives of the project was to enact comprehensive legislative reforms to create a tobacco-free environment in Uzbekistan. This includes measures to prohibit tobacco advertising, increase warning labels on tobacco products, enforce age restrictions on tobacco sales, regulate smokeless tobacco production, and impose penalties for non-compliance.

In addition to legislative reforms, the project emphasizes the importance of raising public awareness about the harms of tobacco use. This involves conducting media campaigns, organizing public events, and engaging with decision-makers and the media to garner support for tobacco control measures. However, there are concerns about the project's overemphasis on legislative approaches, potentially neglecting complementary strategies such as public awareness campaigns and enforcement mechanisms. Furthermore, the project lacks a detailed evaluation framework to assess its effectiveness. While outputs such as the number of meetings held and documents produced are outlined, there is little discussion on outcome indicators, such as changes in public attitudes towards tobacco use or reductions in tobacco consumption rates.

Shuhrat Shukurov's contributions to this project in Uzbekistan are important too. As a longstanding advocate for tobacco control since the 1990s, Shukurov has authored and co-authored several publications highlighting the economic and health impacts of smoking, as well as the effectiveness of tobacco control policies. Shuhrat Shukurov was a coordinator of this project and he is an employee of the Uzbekistan Ministry of Health. Shukurov holds the primary authority, engaging with stakeholders, while the chairman of the Avicenna Foundation, Nozimkhon assumes a more ceremonial role, merely representing the fund. Presently, Shukurov's efforts in advocating for the vape ban in Uzbekistan have proven notably successful. It further indicates the Bloomberg Initiative’s success in attracting policymakers and government officials to advance its policy objectives.

Commit to Quit" campaign

Uzbekistan also recently launched the national "Commit to Quit" campaign in collaboration. The campaign aimed to provide resources and support for individuals looking to quit tobacco.

The campaign involved various activities over 2023, focusing on promoting "100 reasons to quit tobacco" and providing access to cessation services. The campaign aimed to assist at least 100 million people globally in quitting tobacco by utilizing digital tools and supporting strong cessation policies. The launch of the event bold claims about the effectiveness of the campaign without providing concrete evidence or data to support its assertions. For example, it mentions that the campaign aims to help at least 100 million people worldwide quit tobacco but fails to provide any metrics or benchmarks to measure the success of this initiative.

Overemphasis on Digital Tools: The campaign heavily emphasizes the use of digital tools such as Florence and the Quit Tobacco Challenge in WhatsApp Messenger for tobacco cessation. While digital tools can be useful, their effectiveness in helping people quit tobacco may vary depending on factors such as accessibility, user engagement, and cultural relevance. Without addressing these considerations, the reliance on digital tools may overlook the needs of certain population segments, particularly those with limited access to technology or digital literacy.


The project titled "Passage of Smoke-free Legislation in Mongolia through Policy and Media Advocacy" by Focus NGO aims to address tobacco control issues in Mongolia through legislative and media advocacy. Focus is a Mongolian NGO established in 2001 to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and other STIs in Mongolia. Since 2016, Focus has focused on advocating for the prevention of alcohol and tobacco use. The organization has a Governing Board with representatives from various sectors. Let's analyze various aspects of the project:

The project by Focus NGO aims to address tobacco control issues in Mongolia through legislative and media advocacy. While the organization provides detailed information on its objectives, activities, and partners, there are concerns regarding transparency in its organizational structure and financial management. Additionally, the lack of a website raises questions about public accountability. The project's focus on advocating for smoke-free legislation in Mongolia lacks clarity about the organization's broader goals and motivations, making it difficult to assess their impartiality. The emphasis on media advocacy and engagement with policymakers raises concerns about potential biases and influence on policy outcomes. Moreover, the project's strategies may be insufficient as they lack community engagement, grassroots mobilization, and partnership with affected populations. The reliance on external partners and international organizations may hinder local ownership and sustainability of tobacco control efforts in Mongolia. Overall, there are concerns about the transparency, intentions, and effectiveness of the project, highlighting the need for greater clarity, community involvement, and locally-driven initiatives in addressing tobacco control in Mongolia.

Focus engaged in policy and media advocacy efforts from 2016-2018 in Mongolia to strengthen tobacco control legislation. As a sub-grantee, they worked on passing a comprehensive smoke-free law, gaining knowledge in law submission, drafting, and advocacy among policymakers. They faced challenges from the tobacco industry’s influence and lack of political will but managed to collaborate with key partners and advocate effectively to improve political support. The project received backing from government, non-governmental sectors, and WHO. Currently, Focus is working on a new project to amend the Tobacco Control Law with the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders. This initiative builds on their experience to further advance tobacco control legislation in Mongolia.

In their “Passage of smoke-free legislation in Mongolia through policy and media advocacy” project proposal, Focus mentions that they engaged in policy and media advocacy efforts from 2016-2018 in Mongolia to strengthen tobacco control legislation. As a sub-grantee, they worked on passing a comprehensive smoke-free law, gaining knowledge in law submission, drafting, and advocacy among policymakers. They faced challenges from the tobacco industry’s influence and lack of political will but managed to collaborate with key partners and advocate effectively to improve political support. The project received backing from government, non-governmental sectors, and WHO. Currently, Focus is working on a new project to amend the Tobacco Control Law with the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders. This initiative builds on their experience to further advance tobacco control legislation in Mongolia. It is also underscored in the project document under the project strategies and activities that: “Obtain and provide information about tobacco industry interference (direct or indirect, through front groups or paid spokespeople) to decision makers and help them counter/discredit industry arguments”. Project also aims at targetting “specific Ministries/agencies to turn them into more supportive (or less oppositional) partners”. The project proposal is written in a way that it would use manipulation, intimidation, and misinformation to achieve its objectives. It’s clear from the proposal that, the implementers have broader goals than banning tobacco.


In conclusion, while the Bloomberg Initiative's Global Tobacco Campaign has garnered attention and resources for combating tobacco use in the world and the Central Asian countries, critical questions remain regarding its overall effectiveness and impact. Furthermore, it is apparent that Bloomberg's primary objective is not merely to deter tobacco use but rather to advance his political agenda and sustain influence within the World Health Organization (WHO), thereby possessing a mechanism to shape policy decisions.

Despite significant investments in advocacy, policy reform, and public awareness, there is limited empirical evidence to support the campaign's claims of success. Moreover, concerns persist regarding the campaign's reliance on top-down approaches and aggressive policy interventions, which may overlook the socio-cultural nuances and economic realities of the region. Transparency and accountability also remain significant challenges, with questions surrounding the influence of Bloomberg's wealth on policy decisions and the autonomy of local stakeholders. The lack of clear evaluation frameworks and metrics for success further hampers efforts to assess the true impact of the campaign. Furthermore, the campaign's narrow focus on tobacco control may overshadow broader public health priorities and neglect holistic approaches to addressing underlying determinants of tobacco use, such as poverty, education, and healthcare access.