OICR researcher honoured by World Health Organization for tobacco control efforts

TORONTO, June 4, 2013 /CNW/ - Dr. Tom Hudson, President and Scientific Director of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), congratulates Dr. Geoffrey Fong who received a World Health Organization (WHO) World No Tobacco Day Award in a ceremony in Washington DC on May 31, 2013. Dr. Fong is an OICR Senior Investigator and Professor of the Department of Psychology and the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo.

The WHO confers this award every year upon individuals, groups, or governments, who have made significant contributions to the advancement of tobacco control, calling attention to the need for global engagement to fight the tobacco epidemic, which is projected to cause the premature deaths of one billion people worldwide in the 21st Century.

"Ontario congratulates Dr. Fong on having earned this prestigious recognition," said Minister of Research and Innovation Reza Moridi. "We are proud to support the work of Dr. Fong and his colleagues at the University of Waterloo whose research is guiding the implementation of policies around the world that will prevent tobacco-induced diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease."

"Dr. Fong has been a leader in the area of tobacco control both in Canada and globally," said Dr. Hudson. "His research has allowed us to measure the impact of tobacco control policies and optimize their use against one of the leading preventable causes of cancer. This research is a great example of the impact Ontario-based researchers are making internationally."

Dr. Fong is being honoured by the WHO for the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation (ITC) Project, which he founded in 2002 to serve as a framework for evaluating and understanding the impact of policies implemented under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which has been ratified by more than 170 countries including Canada. Under the FCTC countries are required to implement tobacco control measures such as graphic warnings on packaging, smoke-free laws, and increased taxes on tobacco.

The ITC Project conducts large-scale longitudinal cohort surveys of representative samples of tobacco users in 22 countries. This research covers 50 per cent of the world's population and 70 per cent of all tobacco users. Among other insights, Dr. Fong's research provides analysis of how policies under the FCTC impact behavioural outcomes in smokers, such as quitting. Most recently, Dr. Fong's team partnered with the Brazilian government on an ITC report on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship in that country, showing that despite the passage of strong laws prohibiting tobacco marketing, the tobacco industry continues to find ways to make its addictive and deadly products attractive to the public. The Brazilian government is using the ITC findings to make improvements in its tobacco control initiatives.

Under Dr. Fong's leadership, the ITC Project has published over 200 peer-reviewed scientific publications and over 20 major reports to governments. The resulting combination of science and dissemination has led to many examples of how research evidence can have a powerful impact on guiding health policies throughout the world.

About OICR

OICR is an innovative cancer research and development institute dedicated to prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The Institute is an independent, not-for-profit corporation, supported by the Government of Ontario. The annual budget for OICR, its research partners and collaborators exceeds $150 million. This supports more than 1,600 investigators, clinician scientists, research staff and trainees located at its headquarters and in research institutes and academia across the Province of Ontario. OICR has key research efforts underway in small molecules, biologics, stem cells, imaging, genomics, informatics and bio-computing. For more information, please visit the website at www.oicr.on.ca.

SOURCE: Ontario Institute for Cancer Research

For further information:

Ontario Institute for Cancer Research
Contact: Christopher Needles
Manager, Strategic Communications
Email: christopher.needles@oicr.on.ca
Telephone: 416-673-8505
Mobile: 416-319-5252


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