UBINIG organized an online meeting with Rowhson Ara Mannan, a member of parliament (MP) from Bangladesh Jatiya Party on Sunday on the necessity of amending the existing Tobacco Control Act.
She said, ‘According to the definition of the tobacco in the current Tobacco Control Act, smokeless tobacco (SLT) products like Zarda, Gul, Sada Pata, Khoini, etc. are also regarded as tobacco alongside the tobacco items like cigarettes and Bidi. But when it comes to law enforcement, hardly do these SLT products get equal share of attention as cigarettes and Bidi.’
‘Studies show that consumption of these SLT products causes various diseases, including several types of oral cancers. Though SLT products like Zarda and Gul are widely used by the rural population, especially women, however, consumption of these items by the women of lower socio-economic strata in the urban areas is also very notable. As these SLT products are available in the roadside kiosks at an affordable price, consumers of these products do not have to face any difficulties in getting them whenever they need.’, she added.
The MP further said, ‘Loose selling of Zarda, Paan Masala, etc. along with the betel quid often acts in favour of increasing the popularity of these SLT products. So, government should make provision in the TC law prohibiting the loose selling of every kind of tobacco products.’
Mannan also said, ‘Government should encourage the farmers, currently involved in tobacco cultivation, to cultivate alternative crops and give incentives in necessary cases so that tobacco cultivation can be fully stopped in the cultivable lands.’
The MP also said that though direct advertisement of the tobacco products has been prohibited in the existing TC Act, however, various indirect advertising strategies, such as displaying tobacco products more visibly or positioning these products in a lucrative manner, etc. are often followed at point-of-sales (POS) to attract the potential customers. So, necessary amendment should be brought into the TC act that prevents the indirect advertisement of tobacco products as well.
‘Of late, e-cigarettes are gaining popularity among the urban youths. It is also harmful for human health as various chemical items are used in producing it. I think, e-cigarette should be banned for protecting the health of the young generation and amendment should be made into the TC law to facilitate this change.’, she added.