‘Tobacco-free status needed to build smart Bangladesh’

Published : 31 Jan 2023 09:55 PM

To make a “tobacco-free Bangladesh” by 2040 in the context of the Prime Minister’s pledge for strengthening the “Tobacco Control Act”, relevant ministries have formulated a draft “Smoking and Tobacco Products Usage (Control) (Amendment) Act-2013”. Policymakers received positive responses from the people, which motivated them to make the amendment with no further delay. 

Deputy Speaker Advocate Shamsul Haque Tuku, MP along with other parliament members placed this remark on Tuesday’s opinion exchange session “Tobacco Control Act and Contemporary Thoughts”, organized by the private think-tank “Unnayan Shamannay”. Deputy Speaker of the National Parliament Advocate Shamsul Haque Tuku, MP presented as the Chief Guest of the session. Honorable guests of the programme include Professor Dr. Md. Abdul Aziz, MP (Sirajganj 03); Professor Dr Pran Gopal Datta, MP (Cumilla 07); Shamsun Nahar, MP (women seat 13), and Mohammad Shahiduzzaman, MP (Meherpur 02). 

Formal Governor of Bangladesh Bank and Chairman of Unnayan Shamannay, Professor Dr Atiur Rahman presented the keynotes in the session. He said, “the Tobacco Control Act will be heightened at the international standards through this proposed amendment, because it will be possible to safeguard the passive smokers from the tobacco exposures as well as youngsters can be refrained from smoking”.

He also pointed out that some people are spreading propaganda that this amendment is associated with economic costs, while it will eventually bring benefits to macro economy.  

During the open discussion, different anti-tobacco organisations emphasized accelerating the amendment process. 

They claimed that tobacco is responsible for approximately 450 deaths in the country each day and thus, quick amendment of the act is most desired.  Adv Shamsul Haque Tuku, MP, in his remarks, mentioned, “if we want to build a smart Bangladesh, then Bangladesh must be a tobacco-free nation first. Smart Bangladesh will be the country for strong and healthy young generations in which there is no space for tobacco. If we fail to make our nationals a complete human being, our efforts will go in vain. Hence, there is no option left other than amending the law as soon as possible.”

Professor Dr Pran Gopal Datta, MP opined that massive usage of tobacco can be reduced through comprehensive awareness and motivation. He also added that any kind of bidi-cigarettes usage during election campaign needs to be strictly prohibited. 

Prominent labor leader Shamsun Nahar, MP noted that smoking is highly evident among the labors, and they face financial crisis due to tobacco consumption. They can be encouraged to quit smoking if this Act takes in place. This will also result in their financial savings.