Tuesday, 7 December, 2021

Lives on fire!

37.8m adults use tobacco; 38.4m victims of passive smoking; tougher law sought

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 2 November, 2021 12:00 AM
  • Print news
Lives on fire!

About 37.8 million adults in Bangladesh take tobacco while 38.4 million are victims of secondhand smoke in public places, including workplaces and public transport.  

Strict tobacco control law is needed to protect public health and prevent non-communicable diseases during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic situation, experts opined.

They gave the information and opinion while speaking at a seminar titled ‘Importance of Amending Tobacco Control Law to Protect Public Health and Prevent Non-communicable Diseases’ organised by Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA) and National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh on Monday.

Professor Sohel Reza Choudhury, head of the Department of Epidemiology and Research at the National Heart Foundation Hospital and Research Institute, delivered the keynote speech at the seminar held at the BMA auditorium in the capital while BMA President Dr Mostafa Jalal Mohiuddin chaired it.

Sohel Reza in his speech said about 37.8 million adults in Bangladesh use tobacco as 38.4 million adults are becoming victims of passive smoking in public places, including workplaces 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. Tobacco control laws need to be strengthened to protect public health from these harms,” he added.   

National Professor Brigadier (Retd) Abdul Malik, founder and president of National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh, said there are weaknesses in some areas of the current tobacco control law of the country. “If the vulnerability can be removed, the law will be more effective,” he opined.

Dr Mostafa Jalal Mohiuddin said if necessary amendments are brought to the Tobacco Control Act, it will be possible to control the non-communicable diseases. 

Speakers at the meeting also demanded six important amendments to the Tobacco Control Act, including abolishing the provision of ‘Designated Smoking Areas’ (DSA) in public places and public transport.

BMA Secretary General Dr Md Ihteshamul Haque Chowdhury conducted the meeting while Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Md Sharfuddin Ahmed, former Vice-Chancellor of the BSMMU Prof Dr Kanak Kanti Barua, Secretary General of the Society of Medicine Prof Ahmedul Kabir and President of the Society of Respiratory Medicine Professor Mirza Hiron, among others, were present in the seminar