Thursday, 9 December, 2021

Tobacco – the slow poison

Covid-19 has exposed how weak and vulnerable are the lungs of smokers in fighting back the disease. It came as an eye-opener for some who kicked the habit, but many others who kept their heads buried in the sand continue to smoke. Even, according to a report in yesterday’s Daily Sun, smoking in public places is going on unabated in spite of a ban on such practices. It raises questions about the willingness of the authorities concerned in enforcing the ban effectively.

Capitalising on the government’s lukewarm response to tackling the problem, tobacco addiction is growing alarmingly in Bangladesh. It is equally widespread in the urban areas as well as the villages as millions of men and women, elderly and young are falling prey to this deadly habit. There is a palpable rise in the number of young children becoming addicted to smoking.

Today, every family in the country is worried about protecting their children from the clutches of tobacco and drugs. Starting from the street children to the affluent members of the society, every section has its own choice of substance abuse depending on their affordability. The growing menace of tobacco among youth is indeed alarming for the whole nation.

As of now, Bangladesh has failed to devise an effective strategy to deal with tobacco consumption. We have laws banning smoking in public places but it is rarely enforced. Apart from budgetary increase in the price of tobacco products, there is no other visible mechanism. But the price hike too has had little to no impact. Efforts to raise awareness against tobacco use are also in place. But these initiatives prove futile when the supply of tobacco products remains undiminished.  Therefore, enforcement of tougher laws to curb both smoking and sale of tobacco products is a must to tackle this growing social menace.