Sometimes the obscenely wealthy do great things with their riches.
This is one of those times: Bill Gates and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg have invested $4 million into a fund that will help poor countries fight expensive, drawn out legal battles against the multi-billion dollar tobacco industry.
Part of the fight centres on laws around the requirement for tobacco packaging to include graphic health warnings. While governments are in favour of these measures, tobacco companies claim such controls violate international trade agreements.
Bloomberg says he’s confident many countries can win these fights, but need help paying for lawyers who have experience in litigating to win.
That, of course, costs a ton of money.
John Oliver recently released an excellent episode about the issue, which can be seen as testament to his show’s influence on shaping both public opinion and policy.
“This is a public health issue that governments around the world are waking up to and it’s a problem in every place and every culture,” said Bloomberg, whose philanthropy group has contributed over $600 million since 2007 towards causes that curb tobacco use.