SMOKE FREE PARTNERSHIP UPDATES

Lilia Olefir to be Honored for Leadership in Fighting Tobacco Use in Ukraine and Across Europe


Tuesday, 14 May 2024

Washington, D.C. – Lilia Olefir, Director of the Smoke Free Partnership (SFP) based in Brussels, Belgium, will receive the 2024 Judy Wilkenfeld Award for International Tobacco Control Excellence for her leadership in the fight against tobacco use. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids will honor Ms. Olefir at its annual awards celebration on May 9 in Washington, D.C. 

 

The award is given annually to an international tobacco control advocate who has made extraordinary contributions to reducing tobacco use through policy advocacy and who inspires others to do the same. The award is named in honor of the late Judy Wilkenfeld, who founded Tobacco-Free Kids’ international programs and helped spearhead the adoption of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) – a global public health treaty that has been signed by nearly every country and guides governments in implementing proven policies to reduce tobacco use.

As Director of SFP, Ms. Olefir leads a coalition of over 55 European organizations that works to mobilize decision makers to implement strong tobacco control policies across Europe. Prior to leading SFP, Ms. Olefir served as Executive Director of LIFE Advocacy Center in Ukraine, that country’s leading tobacco control advocacy group.

Under her leadership, LIFE led successful campaigns to raise taxes on all tobacco products and enact a comprehensive tobacco control law adopted just one month before Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The law includes 100 percent smoke-free public places, pictorial warning labels on tobacco products, and a ban on marketing of new products. The law was enacted despite intense opposition from tobacco companies.

“The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is thrilled to recognize the leadership and achievements of Lilia Olefir, whose work is helping to reduce tobacco use and save lives in Ukraine and across Europe,” said Yolonda C. Richardson, President and CEO of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Lilia has helped Ukraine make progress in reducing tobacco use under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. She is an inspiration to advocates in Ukraine, Europe and across the globe.”

“Public health advocates know that we must raise our voices to stand up to an industry that causes immense suffering around the world,” said Ms. Olefir. “I am honored to receive this award and know that it will enable me to keep raising my voice against the tobacco industry, for the people of Ukraine, Europe and the rest of the world.” 

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