A total of 152 Members of Parliament (MPs) have sent recommendations to Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam for taking initiatives to amend the existing Tobacco Control law and finalise the draft proposal for preventing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and public health protection.
Bangladesh Parliamentary Forum for Health and Wellbeing and its secretarial organization Shastho Shurokkha Foundation on Wednesday presented the recommendations of parliamentarians to amend the Tobacco Control law at the Cabinet Secretary's office.
Recommendations of the parliamentarians include ban on smoking in open places (public places); ban on the retail sale of bidis-cigarettes; ban on import and manufacture of e-cigarettes, and increase of health warnings on tobacco products, closing the activities of tobacco companies in name of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and ban on the display of tobacco products at the point of sale.
Before this, 41 MPs participated in the conference of parliamentarians titled 'Making Bangladesh tobacco-free in control of non-communicable diseases' held in Cox's Bazar at the initiative of Bangladesh Parliamentary Forum.
The recommendations of this declaration have already been included in the new draft of the Tobacco Control Law by the Bangladesh Tobacco Control Cell (NTCC). But since the law has not yet been passed, the Bangladesh Parliamentary Forum working to achieve universal health coverage continues to discuss the matter with the concerned parties.
It needs to mention here that, Bangladesh is one of the leading countries in tobacco use. Around 1 lakh 61 thousand people die every year of tobacco-related diseases in Bangladesh. Around 3 lakh 84 thousand people, including 61 thousand children, were victims of second-hand smoking.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has announced to make the country tobacco-free by 2040 to control non-communicable diseases. The Parliamentary Forum, which consists of MPs from the government and opposition parties, is working directly in this regard.
In addition, the 22-member parliamentarian forum assists the government through various policymaking consultations, initiatives and campaigns on public health protection, including the prevention of communicable and non-communicable diseases in the country.