The World No Tobacco Day 2021 will be observed in the country as elsewhere in the world today highlighting the health risk of tobacco consumption and effective policies to control its use.
With a view to raising mass awareness about harmful effects of tobacco consumption, anti-tobacco platforms have chalked out elaborate programmes marking the day.
However, some anti-tobacco platforms have been campaigning for some days centering the World No-Tobacco Day. They are emphasising on quitting smoking and other tobacco products, as this year’s theme of day is ‘Commit to Quit Tobacco’.
The Tobacco Control & Research Cell (TCRC) of Dhaka International University (DIU) has been conducting a campaign through social media. The platform arranged a webinar on ‘Health Risk of Tobacco and the Role of Youth Society’ on May 26.
Bangladesh Anti-Tobacco Alliance (BATA) and AID Foundation jointly arranged an online discussion on ‘Obstacles to Apply Tobacco Control Law’ on May 25.
Bangladesh Network for Tobacco Tax Policy (BNTTP), Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust (WBB Trust), ARK Foundation, National Anti-Tuberculosis Association of Bangladesh (NATAB), Gram Bangla Unnoyon Committee, Pratshaya Madhok Birodhi Songothon and different other organisations will observe the day amid various programmes.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) introduced the World No-Tobacco Day in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes. In that year, the World Health Assembly passed Resolution WHA40.38, calling for April 7 in 1988 to be ‘World No-Smoking Day.’ In 1988, Resolution WHA42.19 was passed, calling for the celebration of ‘World No-Tobacco Day’ every year on May 31.
Bangladesh aims to become a tobacco-free country by 2040. The goal was taken in 2016. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced the goal to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs).
To control tobacco in Bangladesh, the Smoking and Usage of Tobacco Products (Control) Act was introduced in the country in 2005 and it was amended in 2013. The law imposes ban on smoking in public places and advertisements of tobacco products, and places restrictions over the distribution and sale of the products. The National Tobacco Control Cell under the Health Ministry was established in 2007 to implement and monitor the tobacco control activities.
Experts and anti-tobacco activists said that tobacco control law should be amended as the number of smokers and users of the other tobacco products is not declining in the country as the expected rate due to loopholes in the existing law and some other reasons.