April 20, 2024, 1:06 am

Speedy finalization of Tobacco Control Law Amendment Demanded

Reporter Name 16 Time View
Update : Sunday, October 16, 2022

  • Human Chain with ‘Symbolic Corpse’ :

staff reporter, Dhaka : A human chain carrying symbolic corpses was held today (15 October, Saturday) in front of National Press Club where speakers voiced their demands for immediate finalization of the tobacco control law amendment. The event was jointly organized by PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress), Anti-tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA), ‘Pratyasha’ anti drug’s club, and Dhumpan Mador Durniti Birodhi Foundation. Speakers said that tobacco-related illness claim around 161,000 lives each year in Bangladesh. The longer policymakers delay with the finalization of TC law, the larger tobacco’s trail of deaths grows. Following the human chain, organizers also submitted a memorandum to the Secretary, Health Services Division.


During the event, speakers also said, ‘To reduce the prevalence of tobacco use, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has recently taken the initiative to amend and strengthen the existing tobacco control law. The necessary stages of preparing the draft proposal, releasing the draft on website and collecting opinions from stakeholders have already been accomplished. Unfortunately, tobacco companies have launched a campaign of lies and rumors to derail this initiative. As a party to WHO FCTC, Bangladesh, however, is committed to protect the tobacco control policies and other measures from vested commercial and other interests of tobacco companies. FCTC Article 5.3, in particular, recommends governments to remain free from tobacco industry interference while formulating and implementing tobacco control law.

It was also informed that, currently the prevalence of tobacco use stands at 35.3 percent of the adult population (37.8 million). Tobacco-induced deaths and diseases alone cost the economy of Bangladesh around BDT 305.6 billion a year, an amount that is much higher than the revenue generated from this sector. Realizing the extent of tobacco’s devastation, the Honorable Prime Minister voiced her commitment to build a tobacco-free country by 2040 and in 2016, provided directive to amend tobacco control law in line with Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

The latest amendment proposal contains a number of global best practices including eliminating Designated Smoking Areas (DSAs), outlawing so-called corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs of tobacco companies, increasing the area allotted for graphic health warning (GHW) to 90 percent from existing 50 percent, banning the sale of loose sticks, banning the display of tobacco products, and also banning e-cigarettes and other vaping products.

Representatives from Shastho Surokkha Foundation, TCRC, DORP, National Heart Foundation, NATAB, Dhumpan Madok Durniti Birodhi Foundation, Dhaka Ahsania Mission, and many other anti-tobacco organizations participated at the event organized with support from Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids (CTFK).

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