Amend tobacco control law to attain SDGs

MPs urge govt

Staff Correspondent

24 March, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Lawmakers have urged the government to bring an amendment to the existing tobacco control law in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

A delegation of ‘Bangladesh Parliamentary Forum for Health and Wellbeing’ met Chief Coordinator (SDG) of the Prime Minister’s office Juena Aziz on Tuesday and raised the demand, said a press release of the organisation.

The delegates led by Prof. Dr. Md. Habibe Millat also discussed taxation on tobacco products and initiatives of MPs to ensure tobacco free Bangladesh.

Referring to the declaration of Tobacco Free Bangladesh announced by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina by 2040, he mentioned various initiatives taken by the MPs in this regard including the recommendation to amend the existing tobacco control law.

Dr Millat said a large number of non-communicable diseases are caused by tobacco and its economic value is putting pressure on the national economy. “Cigarettes and tobacco products are associated with drugs. So raising awareness and amending existing tobacco control law is the right solution,” he added.

Juena Aziz praised the initiative of the MPs for tobacco control activities. “Awareness needs to be created for tobacco control. Everyone should be aware about the harmful effects of tobacco and tobacco products. In this case, it’s necessary to amend the law if possible. I think Members of Parliament can take initiatives in this regard.”

Dr. Nizam Uddin Ahmed, executive director of Shastho Shurokkha Foundation, said people who are involved in tobacco related professions should be more aware about health.

According to the organization, 67 per cent of total deaths in Bangladesh are caused by non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

According to Tobacco Atlas, every year in Bangladesh almost 161,000 people die from tobacco-related disease.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) also focus on tobacco control to control NCDs. Bangladesh signed the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2003. It’s already been included in the Seventh Five-Year Plan to meet the SDGs. As a result, tobacco control activities have been integrated with mainstream development activities.

In that continuity, in order to achieve SDG, it is necessary to take initiative to amend the existing tobacco control laws in Bangladesh.

Among others, joint secretary (SDGs) of Prime Minister’s Office Mohd. Monirul Islam and director of the SSF Md. Rafiqul Islam were present on the occasion.