The mayor of New York has bolstered a global crusade against tobacco with a donation of a quarter of a billion dollars to curb the growth of the industry in low- and middle-income countries.
Michael Bloomberg had introduced a ban on smoking in public places in New York despite warnings that it would destroy tourism and alienate voters.
About 80% of deaths from smoking-related diseases last year were in low- and middle-income countries, according to the World Lung Foundation's Tobacco Atlas published on Wednesday.
“There is nothing that any of us here will do that will save as many lives as stopping people smoking,” said Bloomberg in New York.
Bloomberg is the 12th wealthiest person in the US with a net worth of $19.5bn.
Bloomberg’s money is targeted primarily at five populous countries where smoking is a big and growing problem — Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia and Russia — and 15 others, which, in total, are home to two-thirds of the world’s smokers.