Tobacco addiction hinders the real growth potential of children, adolescents and the youth. There is no alternative to strengthening the tobacco control law to build a tobacco-free and developed nation.
Education Minister Dr. Dipu Moni MP said this on Tuesday (25 July) evening during a meeting with research and advocacy organization PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) and Anti-tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA) at her official residence on Hare Road in Dhaka.
She also expressed her total support in the ongoing amendment initiative of the tobacco control law taken by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
During the meeting, PROGGA and ATMA informed that currently the prevalence of tobacco use stands at 35.3 percent of the adult population (15 y/o and above). Tobacco-related deaths and diseases cost the economy dearly since the financial toll is much higher than the revenue generated from tobacco sector.
Realizing the extent of tobacco’s devastation, the Honorable Prime Minister voiced her commitment to build a tobacco-free country by 2040 and accordingly provided the directive to bring time-fitting changes to the tobacco control law.
Some of the proposals included in the draft amendment are eliminating Designated Smoking Areas (DSAs) in all public places and public transports, banning the display of tobacco products, banning so-called corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs of tobacco companies, banning the sale of loose tobacco products, banning the production, import and sale of e-cigarettes and other vaping products and increasing the area allotted for graphic health warning (GHW) to 90 percent from existing 50 percent.
The discussants of the event included Md. Mostafizur Rahman, Bangladesh Lead Policy Advisor, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), Senior Journalist Sukanta Gupta Alak, Mortuza Haider Liton, Convener, ATMA, Nadira Kiron, Co-convener, ATMA, Md. Monowar Hossein, Director, PROGGA and Md. Mehedi Hasan Program Officer, PROGGA.