It is good to note that the government has initiated another move to amend the tobacco control law in order to address loopholes and incorporate some new provisions. As reported by this daily on Wednesday, the new provisions include- ban on e-cigarette in Bangladesh, licensing system for the sale of tobacco products, no sale of tobacco products by hawkers and mobile shops, and the ban on the sale of cigarette and other tobacco products near educational institutions, hospitals, playgrounds and children’s parks.
Over the past few years, the incumbent government has taken a number of initiatives to curb tobacco consumption. For the last several years, anti-tobacco organisations across the country have been calling for increased tobacco prices and the NBR has been complying with the demands by imposing incremental taxes on related products on a regular basis.
However, experts and anti-tobacco activists are of the opinion that the lack of strong and effective law and its weak enforcement are the main obstacles in controlling tobacco consumption in Bangladesh. Hence, Smoking and Tobacco Control Act should be amended in no time.
Control Act should be amended
in no time
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina earlier announced her government's plans to make the country tobacco-free by 2040. In this regard, strategic steps should be taken to limit tobacco production and consumption. Also, prices of tobacco products should be increased through implementing effective tobacco tax measures.
While the economic activities generated from the production and consumption of tobacco produces huge tax revenues as well as employment opportunities in the tobacco industry, tobacco smoking poses enormous health- and non-health-related threats to the affected individuals, employers, and the society at large. Tobacco smoking is the cause of many avoidable diseases and premature deaths in Bangladesh. Reportedly, in Bangladesh, 35.3 per cent of adults use some form of tobacco. One lakh sixty-one thousand people die in the country every year due to tobacco use and hundreds of thousands of people become paralyzed.
Experts have long been crying hoarse to impose more taxes on the tobacco producing companies to save lives as well as collect more revenue. It is apprehended that if the existing taxes are revised and imposed properly, the government could earn an additional Tk 10,000 crore in revenue from the sector It needs no emphasising that increase in tobacco taxes will be the most effective means of reducing the consumption of tobacco. If its price goes out of people’s purchasing capacity, the consumption will gradually reduce. Therefore, necessary steps should be taken to impose more taxes on the tobacco producing companies.