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Experts for strict tobacco control law

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 23 September, 2021 12:00 AM
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Experts for strict tobacco control law

Experts at a programme on Wednesday said strict tobacco control law is a must to protect public health and achieve the goal of a tobacco-free Bangladesh by 2040, announced by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. 

Therefore, it is necessary to amend six sections of the Tobacco Control Law to strengthen it, they added.

The experts made the statement while speaking at a view exchange meeting titled ‘Need for Strong Tobacco Control Law to Achieve Tobacco Free Bangladesh’ with Health Reporters Forum at a city hotel in the capital.

National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh in collaboration with the Campaign for Tobabo Free Kids organised the programme.  Research Coordinator of the National Heart Foundation Hospital and Research Institute Dr Ahmad Khairul Abrar read out the keynote speech at the meeting.

He said about 3.78 million adults in Bangladesh use tobacco. Another 38.4 million become victims of secondhand smoke in public places, including workplace and public transport.

“Excessive use of tobacco products is one of the leading causes of heart disease, cancer, breast disease and many other preventable diseases and deaths. More than 1 lakh 61 thousand people dies of tobacco related diseases every year in the country,” he added.

Khairul Abrar in the key-note speech also said in addition, various studies have shown that smokers are 14 times more likely to become seriously ill than those infected with Covid-19.

The speakers said that the tobacco control law needs to be strengthened to protect the public health from these harms of tobacco.

Mostafizur Rahman, lead policy advisor of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, said various aspects of the country’s existing smoking and tobacco use (control) law are in line with the World Health Organization's FCTC, but there are weaknesses in some areas.

Speakers at the meeting demanded six important amendments to the Tobacco Control Act, including a 100 percent ban on smoking in all public places and public transport.

President of Bangladesh Health Reporters Forum Toufiq Maruf also emphasised the need for amendment of the existing tobacco control law of the country in a bid to save people’s lives.

General Secretary of Health Reporters Forum Rashed Rabbi also spoke at the programme.