WHO “World No Tobacco Day Award” to Hacettepe University

ursu-tobaccoProfessor Murat Tuncer, President of Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey, received a WHO World No Tobacco Day 2015 award in recognition of his strong leadership in tobacco control on 27 May 2015. The award ceremony was held at Hacettepe University with the participation of high-level officials from the Ministry of Health, including Mr Hüseyin Çelik (Deputy Undersecretary, Ministry of Health), members of the Hacettepe University Senate, international partners and leaders in tobacco control actions in Turkey.

Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Pavel Ursu (WHO Representative in Turkey) said, “Turkey has made impressive progress in controlling the tobacco epidemic. WHO stands beside countries that are working hard to overcome economic policy differences in the name of public health. It is commendable that all provisions of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) are successfully and progressively implemented in Turkey.”

In his speech, Dr Öner Güner (Director General of the General Directorate for European Union and Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health) briefly mentioned the progress made in tobacco control in Turkey underlining that, “by implementing all WHO FCTC and MPOWER policies, from 2008 to 2012, smoking prevalence among Turkish adults dropped from 31% to 27%, a relative decline of 13%, which is an outstanding achievement in just over 4 years.”

Professor Tuncer expressed his gratitude for the award and thanked all his colleagues who made this success possible stating, “When I first took up my duties as Rector, tobacco products were widely sold even in the Hacettepe University Oncology Hospital cafeteria. We started our tobacco control activities by banning the sale of all kinds of tobacco products on all campuses of the University. We then continued our activities making the University 100% smoke-free indoors and adopting partial outdoor bans. I will continue to advocate for tobacco control to make Hacettepe University the first tobacco-free university in Europe.”

About the awards

Every year on 31 May, WHO recognizes individuals and/or organizations for their accomplishments in tobacco control with World No Tobacco Day awards. The awards recognize international achievements in the fight against the global tobacco epidemic and in the promotion of tobacco control initiatives and policies. They are awarded to individuals and institutions selected for long-term commitment and outstanding contribution in research, advocacy, health promotion, capacity building and other activities that promote and enforce tobacco control.

The awards are a respected and powerful tobacco control tool. Regarded highly worldwide, the awards bring visibility, nationally and internationally, to WHO’s collaborative support of countries’ and civil society’s efforts to control tobacco.