The number of tobacco users in the population of 15-year and above age group has dropped by eight percent in the last eight years, said a study report of Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2017, reports UNB.
The initial findings of the research result was revealed by the Ministry of Health and Family Planning on Tuesday in front of the Health and Family Planning Minister Mohammad Nasim at his ministry, said Progga, an anti-tobacco campaigner, in a press release.
According to the report, the number of smokers and smokeless tobacco consumers of the country have decreased five percent and 6.6 percent respectively.
Currently 35.3 percent of the population of the country, which is 3.78 crore, consume tobacco, of which 18 percent (1.92 crore) consume smoking tobacco and 20.6 percent (2.20 crore) consume smokeless tobacco, according to the initial report. Some 43.3 percent of the population of the country used consume tobacco back in 2009.
Appreciating the progress, Progga said the country could not achieve its expected target of tobacco control activities due to various reasons. The reasons include the absence of an effective tobacco taxation policy, the lack of proper implementation of GHW regulations, weakness of tobacco control act such as exhibiting tobacco products in shops, having designated smoking zone in public places, retailing and selling of tobacco products without license and near educational institutions.
"Another worrying aspect is that government of Bangladesh is going to welcome Japan Tobacco (JT) group to start its business in the country in the name of brining foreign direct investment (FDI)", said Progga.
Bangladesh Prime Minister has expressed her commitment to transform Bangladesh into a tobacco-free country by 2040, but the move of allowing the tobacco business to expand its trade will hinder the country's journey towards that goal, the organization added.
Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2017 was conducted by World Health Organization (WHO), Centre for Diseases Control (CDC) and the government of Bangladesh among the population aged between 15 years and above.
This is an internationally-recognized survey often regarded as a standard in tobacco use and control assessment. The study is generally conducted every five years in most of the countries of the world.