Information Minister Hasan Mahmud called upon all to quit smoking and raise awareness about the adverse impact of smoking among all, especially children.
“To build a country in line with our dream, all has to quit smoking and raise awareness about the dire consequences of tobacco use among children,” he said.Hasan, also the publicity and publication affairs secretary, said this while addressing a discussion titled ‘Obstacles in achieving tobacco-free Bangladesh’ at Tofazzal Hossain Manik Mia lounge at the National Press Club in the capital on Wednesday.
Progotir Jonno Gyan (Progga) and Bangladesh Anti-Tobacco Alliance organised the event to discuss Global Adult Tobacco Survey which was revealed last year.
“We hope Bangladesh will be a tobacco-free country by 2040,” Hasan said, adding that all have to work in a united way to achieve the goal.
He urged different anti-tobacco organisations to give awards to those who never smoke in their life.
Hasan said he does not smoke in his personal life as he promised to his father that he would not smoke in his life.
“My father smoked a lot. Once, a doctor told him not to smoke cigarettes as it causes cancer. Then my father called me and asked me to make promise for not consuming any tobacco in the future. I also fulfilled the promise.”Mentioning the need for combined efforts to build a developed nation, Hasan said it’s not possible to build a developed nation with only meritorious people. Patriotism is also necessary in this regard, he added.
Hasan Mahmud also called upon all to run a campaign against excessive use of social networking websites.
“We will definitely enjoy the benefits of social networking sites, but we will also reject its bad side,” he said.
Health secretary M Asadul Islam and senior fellow of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies Naznin Ahmed, among others, spoke at the discussion with journalist Mojammel Hossain in the chair.
Besides, research director of Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies Mahfuz Kabir presented a keynote paper.
Speakers said that reducing rate of tobacco users is not satisfactory due to fragile work plan and flaws of law.
They urged the authority concerned to take strong measures so that none can promote use of tobacco through films, dramas and other digital media.
According to the survey, tobacco consumption among people aged over 15 was 43.3 percent in 2009 while the ratio declined to 35.3 percent in 2017.