Students of different educational institutions joined an anti-tobacco campaign with the demand-- imposition of a specific tax on tobacco products and an increase on tobacco tax.
The Tobacco Control & Research Cell (TCRC) of Dhaka International University (DIU), Work for a Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust and Bangladesh Anti-Tobacco Alliance (BATA) jointly launched the signature campaign to make public awareness against tobacco. The anti-tobacco campaign was launched marking World No-Tobacco Day, which is observed on May 31 every year.
As part of the anti-tobacco campaign, about 450 students and 50 teachers and many other people gathered on DIU’s Banani campus in the capital on Tuesday (May 24) and took part in the signature campaign in the second phase.
The participants demanded the implementation of the declaration of the Prime Minister to make Bangladesh tobacco-free by 2040 and formulation of a strong tobacco tax policy soon, giving top priority to the public interest. They also called for modernizing the tobacco tax collection system.
The campaign programme was attended, among others, by DIU VC Prof Dr Saiful Islam, Pro-VC Prof Dr Ganesh Chandra Saha, Vice-Chairman of Board of Trustees of the university Dr S Quadir Patwari, Registrar Prof Md Rafiqul Islam, Assistant Registrar Prof Dr Shah Alam Chowdhury, TCRC’s Member Secretary and DIU’s Associate Professor Md Bazlur Rahman, Prof Dr Sirajul Islam Prodhan, head of Economics dept Md Fazlul Haque Polash, head of Business Administration dept Md Siddique Alam Khan, head of Law dept Md. Raisul Islam, Tanzila Shabnam of Sociology dept, TCRC’s Project Manager Farhana Zaman Liza, researcher Ashiqul Islam Khan, research assistant Munim Mahadi, Project Officer of WBB Trust Mithun Baidya and Md Abu Raihan of MANAS, Samiul Hasan Sajib of BATA.
Participants of the anti-tobacco campaign said that there is no alternative to formulating a strong tax policy to build a tobacco-free Bangladesh by 2040 as per the announcement of the Prime Minister. But it was not reflected in the budget of the last fiscal year. However, the fixed prices of tobacco products in this budget benefited the tobacco companies, while the government lost additional revenue. The current tax system is complex for collection of government revenue.