153 MPs urge PM to ban e-cigarette

Staff Correspondent

9 March, 2021 12:00 AM printer

As many as 153 lawmakers have urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to ban the harmful e-cigarette in the country as the tobacco product is leading many users, especially youths, to destruction.

The MPs under the banner of Bangladesh Parliamentary Forum for Health and Wellbeing have made the request through a letter to the premier.

The letter, signed by the lawmakers, has demanded a ban on import, production, sale, marketing and use of e-cigarettes in Bangladesh.

Lawmaker Prof Dr Habibe Millat, chairman of Bangladesh Parliamentary Forum for Health and Wellbeing, along with former Health Minister Prof Dr AFM Ruhul Haque and lawmakers Mahabub Ara Gini, Hafiz Ahmed Mazumder, Adv Syeda Rubina Akhter, Aparajita Haque,             

Shabnam Jahan and Sheuli Azad handed over the letter to PM’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus at the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday, said a press release.

After handing over the letter, Habibe Millat said, “Tobacco products, including e-cigarette, are harmful to health. Young people especially are being led to destruction. Therefore, it’s necessary to amend the tobacco control law and increase its tax.”

Receiving the letter, Dr Ahmad Kaikaus said the initiative of the lawmakers against the harmful tobacco is praiseworthy. However, he has assured them of taking necessary legal action against it.

All the MPs, including Ruhul Haque, have expressed their views, emphasising the need for an amendment to the tobacco control law and an increase in the tobacco taxes.

They have also demanded that e-cigarettes should be banned immediately in a bid to protect public health from its harmful effects.

The lawmakers also mentioned that the prime minister has declared that Bangladesh would be free from tobacco by 2040. To achieve this target, it’s important to amend the tobacco control law and imposing increased amount of taxation on tobacco products. However, the challenge of making the country free from tobacco has increased due to E-Cigarette in the country as well, they said.

According to the Bangladesh Parliamentary Forum for Health and Wellbeing, E-Cigarette increases the risk of stroke 71 per cent. Moreover, risks of heart attack and cardiac disease increase 59 per cent and 71 percent respectively.

The e-cigarettes’ main ingredient e-juice contains dangerous flavouring agents which causes and increases the risk of chronic diseases of the respiratory, liver and kidneys. “The nicotine in e-cigarettes is extremely dangerous for babies and pregnant mothers. This high level of nicotine destroys the stem cells of the nervous system and causes various diseases of the nervous system, including premature aging,” the organisation said. Mentioning that e-cigarettes and vaping have already been banned in 42 countries, the Bangladesh Parliamentary Forum for Health & Wellbeing said a ban on e-cigarettes has been demanded many times in Bangladesh.

The main consumers of e-cigarettes in Bangladesh are teenagers and young people while the harmful product is gaining popularity among the aged people as well.

Moreover, the situation is becoming more risky as there is no regulation on the import of these products. In this case, it is important to ban the use of this harmful product before it is widely used.

Bangladesh Parliamentary Forum for Health & Wellbeing sources said the letter signed by 152 lawmakers will be handed over to Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque soon, demanding an amendment to the tobacco control law.