Staff Reporter, Dhaka : To curb tobacco-related deaths and other losses, the government must finalize the draft amendment at the earliest possible time. Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA) demands this today (18 January 2022, Wednesday) during a meeting that took place at BMA Bhaban of the capital. The Alliance of media personnel also urged the policymakers not to succumb to the disinformation campaign of the tobacco industry, aimed at derailing the amendment initiative.
It was informed during the event that as a party to WHO FCTC, Bangladesh is committed to protect the tobacco control policies and other public health measures from the vested commercial and other interests of tobacco industry. The FCTC Article 5.3, in particular, recommends governments to remain free from tobacco industry interference while formulating and implementing tobacco control law and related policies.
The latest amendment proposal contains a number of global best practices including eliminating Designated Smoking Areas (DSAs), banning the display of tobacco products, outlawing so-called corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs of tobacco companies, banning the sale of loose sticks, and also banning e-cigarettes and other vaping products, increasing the area allotted for graphic health warning (GHW) to 90 percent from existing 50 percent.
The event was attended by 43 ATMA members. ATMA co-convener Mizan Chowdhury and PROGGA’s head of programs Hasan Shahriar shared organizational activities and highlighted future course of actions. Senior Journalist Sukanta Gupta Alak, Shankar Maitra, Director, Channel-S, Md. Mostafizur Rahman, Lead Policy Advisor of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK) Bangladesh, Mortuza Haider Liton, Convener, ATMA, and ABM Zubair, Member-Secretary of ATMA attended the special discussion session.