Bloomberg philanthropies will commit an additional $220 million to fight tobacco use around the world and stem this growing global public health crisis bringing Bloomberg′s total commitment to more than $600 million. The announcement was made at the 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Singapore.

Building on six years of substantial progress, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ four-year commitment will fund efforts to reduce the toll of tobacco in low- and middle-income countries, home to almost 80% of the world’s smokers.

“Tobacco kills every day, we need to keep the fight moving forward and keep the momentum going,” said Michael R. Bloomberg. “In low- and middle-income countries alone, an additional 1.2 billion people are now covered by at least one of six proven tobacco control policies – more than doubling the number of people protected in just five years. When these measures are implemented, the results are clear: fewer people use tobacco and they live longer, healthier lives.”

Through 2011, a total of 2.2 billion people worldwide are covered by at least one effective tobacco control policy – representing about one-third of the world’s population. Completely smoke-free laws – for public spaces — are in effect in 38 countries, protecting one billion people.

The Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use is the world’s largest coordinated effort to reduce the harm caused by tobacco globally. The Initiative supports the efforts of governments and non-governmental organizations to increase tobacco taxes, educate media and citizens on the negative impacts of tobacco, protect nonsmokers from exposure to other people’s smoke and help people quit.

“The Bloomberg Initiative, and support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, has transformed the effort to drastically reduce the number of people harmed by tobacco. It is making a difference and saving lives in ways not before possible,” said Matthew L. Myers, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids President. “Their long-standing commitment to fighting big tobacco in places where citizens are most vulnerable has made Bloomberg Philanthropies a powerful global force in taking on this daunting challenge.”

Eighteen countries including Brazil, Turkey and Pakistan with almost 750 million citizens have passed 100% smoke-free laws. Several of the world’s largest cities have also gone smoke-free, including Mexico City, Jakarta, and China’s Harbin City which passed that nation’s strongest tobacco control law to date.