Fisheries and Livestock Minister during Meeting with PROGGA-ATMA
Staff Reporter, Dhaka : S M Rezaul Karim, Minister of Fisheries and Livestock of Bangladesh, said, the initiative to amend tobacco control law is a timely one. His ministry stands beside the Health Ministry full support. The minister said this today (11 January) during a meeting with a delegation from PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) and Anti-tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA) at his official residence at Baily Road.
During the meeting, PROGGA and ATMA informed that currently the prevalence of tobacco use stands at 35.3 percent (37.8 million) of the adult population (15 y/o and above). Tobacco-related deaths and diseases cost the economy dearly since the financial toll is much higher than the revenue generated from tobacco sector. Realizing the extent of tobacco’s devastation, the Honorable Prime Minister voiced her commitment to build a tobacco-free country by 2040 and accordingly provided the directive to bring time-fitting changes to the tobacco control law. Following the clear directive from the HPM, the Health Ministry took the initiative to amend the law. Some of the proposals included in the draft amendment are eliminating Designated Smoking Areas (DSAs) in all public places and public transports, banning the display of tobacco products, banning so-called corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs of tobacco companies, banning the sale of loose tobacco products, banning the production, import and sale of e-cigarettes and other vaping products and increasing the area allotted for graphic health warning (GHW) to 90 percent from existing 50 percent.
The discussants of the event included Md. Mostafizur Rahman, Lead Policy Advisor, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), Senior Journalist Sukanta Gupta Alak, Shankar Maitra, Director (News and Current Affairs), Channel-S, Mortuza Haider Liton, Convener, ATMA and Md. Hasan Shahriar, Program Head, PROGGA.