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‘Amendments to tobacco control law must be timely’

Published : 06 Jul 2022 08:50 PM

Leaders of some anti-tobacco platforms at a webinar have appreciated the government’s move to amend the tobacco control law and said that the amendments to the law must be timely so that it can be implemented properly.  

Bangladesh Anti-Tobacco Alliance (BATA) and Work for a Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust jointly arranged the webinar titled ‘Tobacco Companies’ Intervention: Bangladesh Perspective’ on Wednesday (July 6).

Syeda Anonna Rahman, head of program at Health Rights division of WBB Trust; moderated the event, while it was addressed, among others, by Saifuddin Ahmed, coordinator of BATA; Kazi Enayet Hossain, executive director of SCOPE; and Shagufta Sultana, project director at AID Foundation. 

They said that the policy of tobacco companies is completely opposite to the government as the purpose of the government is to reduce the use of tobacco in Bangladesh in the interest of public health, while the purpose of tobacco companies is to make profit and spread tobacco. Although various steps have been taken, including enactment of law and regulations, the expected results in tobacco control have not been achieved till now. Against this backdrop, the move to amend the law is a matter of time, they added. Emphasizing on proper amendment, the speakers also said that it is now very important to make timely amendments to the tobacco control law in order to build a tobacco-free Bangladesh by 2040 as per the declaration of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. 

They also said that withdrawal of the government’s share from tobacco company is essential to achieve the goal of tobacco control. They called for strengthening the tobacco control law through banning retail and single stick sale of cigarette, the sale of tobacco products without license, CSR activities of tobacco companies, the sale of tobacco products by ferry or mobile shop. 

Leaders of the anti-tobacco platforms at the event said that tobacco is not only a common risk factor to the non-communicable diseases, it also plays a role in spreading communicable diseases. However, when it comes to controlling the harmful product, the tobacco companies oppose in various ways which is hampering the government’s health development efforts.