American Cancer Society recognises the work of Dr Saloojee in tobacco control
The National Council Against Smoking is pleased to announce that its executive director, Dr Yussuf Saloojee has won the prestigious American Cancer Society (ACS) Luther L. Terry Award for Outstanding Individual Leadership. The award recognizes people and organizations who have made a special contribution to reducing the societal harms caused by tobacco. The ACS says “the recipients of the Luther L. Terry Awards are among the very best in the world at what they do”.
The citation for the award states that Dr Saloojee is “widely recognized as a leader and tobacco control expert in his home country and, importantly, as well, in Africa and globally”. He played a key role in ensuring that comprehensive tobacco control legislation was adopted in South Africa; mentored new generations of advocates, especially in Africa, and contributed to the development and function of the WHO Framework Convention for Tobacco Control.
“Tobacco use is a problem not only because it kills 44 400 South Africans and 6 million people globally every year, but because of the egregious behaviour of the tobacco industry” says Saloojee. “The industry has put its own profits before the health and welfare of its customers.” The courts have found the industry guilty of lying about the dangers of smoking; of marketing to children while publicly claiming that it does not want minors to smoke; of participating in the illegal trade in tobacco and a host of other illegal and deceptive practices.
Legislation only became necessary because of the irresponsible behaviour of the industry. Tobacco control laws are intended not to take choice away from people but to “make healthy choices easier and unhealthy choices more difficult”. Increasing the tax on tobacco products makes them less affordable to youngsters. Outlawing tobacco advertising stops the industry from promoting a deadly addiction as a smart, glamorous activity to youth. Making public places smoke-free not only protects non-smokers from tobacco smoke pollution but makes it easier for smokers to quit. South Africa has seen a tidal change in societal attitudes towards tobacco because the public generally recognizes that these laws are just and sensible.
The American Cancer Society Luther L. Terry Awards are held in honour of the pioneering US Surgeon General who, in 1964, published a landmark report linking smoking to lung cancer and other serious health issues. Although he released a storm of controversy with this report, Dr. Terry’s determination to pursue this groundbreaking work that established the foundation for tobacco control is commendable. With this award the ACS honours those who follow in his footsteps in the fight against tobacco.
For further information please contact:
- Peter Ucko 082 454 9889 (Please note that Peter is overseas and might be out of reach)
- Dr Saloojee is abroad but can be reached for interviews on +46 31 41 82 72.