25 Sep 2021, 18:55

Stronger tobacco control law for tobacco-free Bangladesh stressed

   RANGPUR, Sept 25, 2021 (BSS) - Journalists at a workshop have stressed on

enacting stronger tobacco control law to reduce consumption of tobacco that
has become a severe threat to public health during the Covid-19 pandemic.

   They viewed this at the journalists' workshop styled 'Role of Media in
Strengthening Tobacco Control Laws' held at the conference room of RDRS
Bangladesh here today.

   Research and advocacy organisation PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) and
Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance jointly organised the workshop with assistance
from Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.

   Thirty journalists of Rangpur division participated in the event.

   The workshop was organised aiming at highlighting tobacco related issues
to be addressed in the media for enacting a time-befitting stronger Tobacco
Control Act through necessary amendments.

   Head of the Tobacco Control Project of PROGGA Md Hasan Shahriar presented
a subject-based keynote essay titled 'Amendment of Tobacco Control Law for
Attaining a Tobacco-free Bangladesh' in the event.

   Citing research findings, Shahriar said 1.71 lakh people die of tobacco
related diseases in Bangladesh and thousands of others are becoming crippled

   Thirty-five percent of the adult population of the country still uses
tobacco products, which is very alarming.

   "If we fail to control the use of tobacco through enactment of a stronger
tobacco control law and its proper implementation, the nation will soon fall
prey to a possible tobacco pandemic," he feared.

   He said that tobacco causes death and it is conducive to Covid-19
infection to damage lungs of coronavirus infected patients causing more

   "Paraguay has totally banned smoking recently in all public places under
roofs, public spaces and public transports to protect the public from the
risk of Covid-19 infection and casualties," Shahriar said.

   "If the existing Tobacco Control Act is not amended and a time-befitting
strengthened law enacted in the shortest possible time, it will be a very
tougher task to attain a tobacco-free Bangladesh by 2040," he added. After
group works, the journalists forwarded suggestions and requested the
government to take those in consideration while amending the existing Tobacco
Control Law to enact a tougher one.

   The proposals include, banning smoking in all public places, workplaces
and public transports, abolition of 'no-smoking areas', prohibition of
display of tobacco products and its advertisements in public places.

   They also proposed a complete ban on tobacco companies' social
responsibility programmes, prohibition of selling unpacked 'Jorda' and 'Gul',
prohibiting import, production and sell of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco
products and other emerging tobacco products.

   They especially suggested increasing the space of health warnings on
packets of tobacco products and imposing strict restrictions on the packaging
of the same.

   The journalist committed to publish thematic news stories highlighting
severe impacts of tobacco products and the need to amend the existing Tobacco
Control Law to attain a tobacco-free Bangladesh.



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