Hospitals must be smoke-free

4 March, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Hospitals form the backbone of a society’s health system. Those matter to people and often mark central points in their lives. So, they are essential for promoting a healthy environment. Tobacco-free hospital campus is one of the ways of doing so. But, unfortunately, tobacco use goes on unabated in most of the public hospitals in the capital. According to a recent study conducted by the National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh, direct smoking or evidence of smoking has been found in 71 per cent of hospitals in the city.  

Here, lots of hospitals outwardly project a healthy image in their community. The hospital authorities seem to have adopted a tobacco-free or smoke-free hospital campus policy. And, they do their job by simply installing billboards or pasting posters inside the hospital premises by warning people not to smoke. But, in reality, they are unable to materialise the policy that they have adopted for the welfare of the people. We find so many laws in our country. We may even cite lots of examples in this regard. But there is lack of enforcement measures. Likewise, stringent health policies are there in the country, but there is serious lacking in rigorous compliance to the health laws. Moreover, there seems to be none to oversee the enforcement of law. Then why is this farce of making laws?

Malnutrition is pervasive all over the country. In such a situation if tobacco adds to people’s sufferings then the nation will become weaker. Ultimately, the citizens will not have required energy to do their jobs. So, enforcement of law is a must if we want to make the nation a healthy one.  Enough resources should be made available to support the hospitals so that they can maintain and enforce health policies properly.

The World Health Organisation is right to observe that damaging lifestyle habit like tobacco chewing and smoking has significant impact on people’s health condition and that tobacco is the leading cause of preventable premature deaths across the world. As Bangladesh is not an exception, smoking in public hospitals must be brought to an end without further delay.