Bangladesh Jatiya Sangsad's newly elected Deputy Speaker Adv. Md. Shamsul Haque Tuku MP and other Members of Parliament (MPs) have demanded amendments to the existing Tobacco Control law. Every year 1 lakh 61 thousand people die prematurely in Bangladesh due to tobacco-related diseases. MPs demand to pass the proposed 6 amendments to the Tobacco Control law in the Bangladesh Parliament to prevent communicable and non-communicable diseases and to avoid the harmful effects of tobacco on public health.
Thursday, October 6, MPs discussed these at the reception ceremony of the newly appointed deputy speaker of the Bangladesh Parliament, organized by the Bangladesh Parliamentary Forum for Health and Wellbeing and Shastho Shurokkha Foundation at the LD hall of Bangladesh Jatiya Sangsad. The deputy speaker participated as the chief guest and was chaired by Prof. Dr. Md. Habibe Millat MP.
The 6 proposed amendments include banning “designated smoking areas (DSA)” in all public places and public transport; Prohibiting the display of tobacco products at points of sale; banning tobacco company social responsibility (CSR) programs; Ban all emerging tobacco products, including e- cigarettes; Increasing the size of health warnings on tobacco product packets/packets from 50% to 90% and banning the retail sale of bidi-cigarettes.
Deputy Speaker Adv. Shamsul Haque Tuku said, 'We are working to implement the announcement of the Hon'ble Prime Minister to build a tobacco-free Bangladesh by 2040. I have involved myself in various anti-tobacco programs. I agree with all proposed to amend the existing Tobacco Law called by MPs. Particularly, banning smoking and banning e-cigarettes are very important. A combined effort is needed to build a tobacco-free Bangladesh. All political parties should come forward in unity, tobacco companies are very powerful. They are trying to carry out their campaign in different ways. Trying to work for them through honorable parliamentarians. But the parliamentarians are aware enough. In this case, it is necessary to amend the Tobacco Control Law.'
Prof. Dr. Md. Habibe Millat MP said, 'Non-communicable diseases cause 67 percent of the total deaths in Bangladesh. Tobacco is one of the key reasons for non-communicable diseases. We are working on tobacco control through parliamentary forums. We have seen how tobacco companies operate. We have written to the Hon'ble Prime Minister and Health Minister recommending amendments to the Tobacco law and banning of e-cigarettes. We are also conducting various public and private policy-making activities on universal health protection, maternal and child health promotion, adolescent health care, mental health and climate change.
Numbers of research show, around 38 million of people use tobacco and tobacco products. Bangladesh is one of the leading countries in tobacco use. 61 thousand children are victimized of second-hand smoke every year. In FY 2017-18, the economic loss (medical expenses and lost productivity) of tobacco use was Tk 30,560 crore. It's needs to mention that, Shastho Shurokkha Foundation is the secretariat of the Bangladesh Parliamentary Forum for Health & Wellbeing.