In memoriam: Patti White

As the 16th World Conference on Tobacco or Health comes to a successful conclusion, I am extremely saddened to share the news that Patti White – one of the world’s finest minds in the fight against tobacco – passed away on Saturday, 21 March.

Patti joined ASH UK in 1978 and in the years that followed she became one of the strongest and clearest voices advocating for global tobacco control. Working with the World Health Organization in the 1980s, Patti drafted the European region’s Action Plan on Tobacco Control and was a co-organiser of the first European Conference on Tobacco Policy. She was a key player in establishing the Smoke Free Europe project and a founding member of the International Network of Women Against Tobacco.

In subsequent years, Patti championed the full range of tobacco control policies with numerous public health organisations including the Union for International Cancer Control, the NCD Alliance and most recently the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. She also worked with the International Union Against TB and Lung Disease, which is the secretariat for the World Conference on Tobacco or Health.

Her passing is a shock to all of us. Indeed, just last week Patti was given the Luther Terry Award for Outstanding Community Service at the World Conference.

An inspiring writer, brilliant strategic thinker and tireless advocate, Patti will be truly missed by her friends and colleagues. While we are all saddened by this profound loss to our community, Patti’s passion and determination live on in each of us as we campaign to save a billion lives this century from the scourge of tobacco.

Please join me in taking a moment to remember Patti’s incredible contribution to our work. Let us honor her by redoubling our efforts in her name.

Jose Luis Castro
Executive Director
International Union Against TB and Lung Disese
Permanent Secretariat of the WCTOH