Bangladesh Cigarette Manufacturers Association (BCMA) has been trying to create obstacle to finalize the National Tobacco Control Policy (NTCP), reports BSS. BCMA has already started a strong campaign at the Ministry of Finance to hinder the finalisation process of NTCP, said a press release.
“On September 15, it has sent a letter to the finance minister, with copies sent to finance secretary, health services secretary and chairman of National Revenue Board to this end,” earlier said a press release of Progga, an anti-tobacco campaigning organisation on Wednesday.
“In the letter, BCMA demanded cancelation of government partnership in tobacco companies, the banning of foreign direct investment in tobacco sector, banning of emerging tobacco products, increasing the size of Graphic Health Warning (GHW) on tobacco packaging, the introduction of plain packaging, increasing tobacco taxes and prices as well as introducing specific excise taxes,” it added. It is considered that the price of cigarettes in Bangladesh is one of the cheapest in the world as average price of cheapest cigarettes is more than twice in India than it is in Bangladesh.
According to a 2016 World Health Organization (WHO) study, with the exception of Myanmar, Nepal and Indonesia, Bangladesh has the cheapest cigarette prices in the South and South-East Asian region. As a party to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) of WHO, Bangladesh is officially committed to safeguard its tobacco control policies and measures from the vested interests of the tobacco industry, it said. “So the government must stay clear of the influence and interference of tobacco companies and finalise and implement the National Tobacco Control Policy as soon as possible,” it added.