‘New plant to promote tobacco trade’

Staff Correspondent

25 December, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Anti-tobacco campaigners on Thursday said setting up a new cigarette manufacturing plant will hinder the move to build a tobacco-free Bangladesh by 2040. 

Asian Tobacco Ltd has started process of setting up a new cigarette manufacturing plant, ignoring Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s declaration of making Bangladesh a tobacco-free country by 2040, said a press release of Progga, a non-government anti-tobacco campaigning organisation.

The tobacco company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (BEPZA) on Wednesday to set up a new tobacco plant.

As per the agreement, the company is going to set up the new tobacco factory in Ishwardi Export Processing Zone area.

“It is an alarming fact that such death traders are given opportunities for expanding their business where public health is at great risk,” the Progga said.

Study report said 126,000 people in Bangladesh die each year due to tobacco consumption and millions of people are crippled by it.

According to Section 18 (1) of the Constitution of Bangladesh, it is the duty of the state to protect and develop the public health. That means the government cannot promote such death trade.

Executive Director of PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) ABM Zubair said, “The Prime Minister had comprehended the deadliness of tobacco for which she declared to attain a tobacco-free Bangladesh by 2040. Nevertheless, promoting tobacco companies can never aid in achieving tobacco-free Bangladesh.”

He further said that even if the cigarette manufacturing plant is set up with the sole intention of export, it is sure to increase tobacco farming and production of tobacco in the country.