Despite tobacco use is a leading cause of premature, non-communicable diseases associated with mortality the number of smokers is gradually increasing in the country.
Non-application of law banning smoking in public places and lack of public awareness pose a threat to public health as anti-tobacco campaigners say smoking in public places not only causes harm to environment but also affects severely the common people of the country.
Environmental and health experts said that due to non-application of current law, lack of awareness and smokers’ willingness to quit smoking silently do degrade environment.
They mentioned that the law of banning smoking in public was enacted in 2005, and it was a landmark for the country.
Various studies have shown that millions of people die every year in the country due to tobacco-related diseases. One out of every two regular smokers dies of a tobacco-related disease.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every day more than 15,000 people die due to tobacco-related diseases in the world. Every year, more than 6 million people around the world die from various diseases due to various tobacco consumption.
The tobacco consumption rate is also soaring in Bangladesh. According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, 43.3 percent of people in the country take different types of tobacco. The number of tobacco users is about five crores.
Talking to Bangladesh Post medicine specialist at a private hospital Dr Z M Kabir Chowdhury mentioned that, the number of deaths due to tobacco is also gradually increasing in the country.
Citing a WHO study, he said, non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer are on the rise in Bangladesh. The foremost reason behind this is smoking.
The expert also specified that, if one looks at the streets, he or she will see many people walking around with cigarettes in their hands. This is a horrible scene, but for those who are doing this, it doesn't seem to them a big deal. They think it's normal, it doesn’t matter. So social awareness is key to this issue.
On quitting smoking, Dr Chowdhury said, many think that smoking can save them from stress. But this is an unrealistic thinking, it's up to him to figure out how to avoid it. When it comes to stressful times, one needs to think about something other than smoking.
Abdus Sobhan, former additional director-general of the Department of the Environment, said, “The law banning smoking could not be implemented due to lack of awareness and publicity. Many of the new generations do not know that there is a law in the country against smoking.”
“Our current law is fifteen years older, we need to formulate a law that can push people to quit smoking. In addition, a special awareness campaign is required to build among common people,” he added.
He further said the media have to play a big role here to stop smoking.