Staff Reporter, Dhaka : Hotel and restaurant owners of Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions have called for the speedy passage of the amended Tobacco Control Act to ensure a hundred percent smoke-free environment by abolishing the provision of smoking zones in hotels and restaurants.
In the seminar organized by Advancement of Hotel and Restaurant (Ahar) Bangladesh in collaboration with Dhaka Ahsaniya Mission and Advancement of Hotel and Restaurant (Ahar) Bangladesh at Saikat Hotel in Bogra on Sunday morning on February 5th, they also said that there is no alternative to the draft law to ensure a healthy environment for children, women and the elderly in hotels and restaurants.
Non-smokers are exposed to secondhand smoke due to the smoke coming out of the restaurant even though there is a designated area for smoking. Speakers also said that they cannot be freed from the effects of smoking.
In the speech of the chief guest in the discussion meeting, Bogra Additional Superintendent of Police Md Sharafat Islam said, I think it is possible to create a tobacco-free Bangladesh by the year 2040 through the implementation of the Tobacco Control Act with the concerted efforts of all.
Special guest Dr. Md. Samir Hossain Mishu said, the prevalence of cancer is increasing due to smoking. Second-hand smoke has the same health risks. Restaurants should not have smoking zones to avoid the harm of second-hand smoke.
Vice President of Bangladesh Restaurant Owners Association and Executive Director of Ahar Bangladesh M. Rezaul Karim Sarkar Robin said that in addition to including restaurants as public places in the existing tobacco control law, the provision of ‘designated places for smoking’ has been kept. Which is a hindrance in keeping public places 100% smoke free.
Iqbal Masood, Director of Health and Wash Sector of Dhaka Ahsaniya Mission, said in his speech that it is the civil right of non-smokers to be protected from the harm of second-hand smoke. It is never possible to protect non-smokers from the harm of second-hand smoke by maintaining designated smoking areas in public places. In this case, to protect public health, designated smoking areas in the hospitality sector should be completely banned.
Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids Bangladesh Manager (Programs) Md. Abdus Salam Mia said that the members of the Bangladesh Restaurant Owners Association will take a stand against keeping smoking zones in hotels and restaurants as before.
Mr. Md. Shariful Islam, Coordinator of Tobacco Control Project of Dhaka Ahsania Mission, presented the keynote at the event. In the article, he said, 3 crore 84 lakh people are indirectly affected by smoking in Bangladesh. About 50 percent of people are exposed to second-hand smoke in restaurants alone.
Leaders of Hotel-Restaurant Business Associations of Rajshahi and Rangpur Division urged the stakeholders to quickly pass the amended draft Tobacco Control Act by banning designated areas for smoking in all public places including restaurants.
Vice President of Bangladesh Restaurant Owners Association and AHAR, Executive Director of Bangladesh M. Rezaul Karim Sarkar Robin chaired the event and among others, leaders of 16 district committees of Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions of Bangladesh Restaurant Owners Association were also present.
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