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ACS receives second Golden Lungs award from Poland

Our tobacco control efforts are helping save lives worldwide

Cliff Douglas, JD, our vice president for tobacco control, received the prestigious Golden Lungs award from Poland’s Health Promotion Foundation while in the country attending two public health conferences in June.

The award is given to individuals who have made a significant impact on public health and quality of life in Poland. Our former chief executive officer, John Seffrin, PhD, was given this honor in 2008.

“The award is a testament to the longstanding role that ACS, as a public health leader from the West, has played in supporting this cause in Poland starting before the fall of the Iron Curtain and accelerating thereafter,” said Cliff. “Smoking prevalence and related mortality and morbidity in Poland have fallen dramatically since the early-1990s, and Polish health and government leaders regard their relationship with ACS as a crucial component in their progress.” 

In his presentations, Cliff shared the health benefits of tobacco control and the proven policy options available to achieve public health progress in the fight to defeat the tobacco epidemic globally, including taxation and pricing, advertising, packaging, warning labels, smoking in public places, and supporting people who want to quit smoking. 

Poland was at one time the largest tobacco producer in Europe. As part of the Communist Bloc, its government and economic situation did not allow for any real tobacco control legislative measures or regulations (warning labels on cigarettes, truth in advertising, etc.). This led Poland to becoming the leader in tobacco consumption and tobacco deaths by the year 2000. 

Poland became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on December 14, 2006. Over the years, anti-tobacco efforts introduced by countries like the U.S. have been implemented and, while it is far behind where the U.S. is in tobacco use, it is finally seeing success in their efforts. One of the initiatives that has been successful in Poland is based on our Great American Smokeout.

The Calisia World Conference on Family Health took place in in the historic city of Kalisz, June 9 - 11, and the Polish-American Collaborations in Public Health: Tobacco Control and Clean Air conference in Warsaw. The two events brought together scientific and medical experts, policy makers, public health professionals, and public health and medical students from Eastern, Central, and Western Europe, and the U.S.

Cliff is pictured in the top photo being presented the Golden Lungs award from Witold A. Zatoński, MD, president and founder of the Health Promotion Foundation in Poland. The award, pictured in the smaller image, is a pair of golden lungs with the Polish words “Nie Pale,” which means “I don’t smoke.”

For a comprehensive look at tobacco control in Poland, read this study.

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