06 Nov 2023, 18:33

Govt launches hard-hitting media campaign on tobacco control

DHAKA, Nov 6, 2023 (BSS)-The National Tobacco Control Cell under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched eight-month long sensitising strategic communication campaign on harms of smoking and second-hand smoke and amendment of the tobacco control law.

This campaign has started with the public service announcement (PSA) titled “What Damage Will This Cigarette/Bidi Do” on November 1, a press release said here today.

Global public health organization, the Vital Strategies provided technical support for the development and implementation of this campaign.

 The government will run this campaign on BTV under the revenue budget, while Vital Strategies will supplement this campaign by employing various digital platforms of Stop Tobacco Bangladesh (STB) (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and its website) to reach out maximum audience.

This video spot reminds smokers to think about each Cigarette or Bidi before he smokes that opens the gateway to many potential harmful consequences: heart attacks, cancer, lung disease, and more. By highlighting tobacco’s links to stroke, throat cancer, lung cancer, COPD and heart disease, the leading causes of death among tobacco users globally, the campaign calls to act for quitting tobacco.

From January 1 to February 28, 2024, another PSA ‘they win, we lose’ will be beaming on BTV. This will show that the tobacco industry continues their profit by promoting and selling their deadly products while the people lose their loved ones due to smoking and tobacco use.

The third PSA ‘100% smoke free public places’ will be on-air from March 1 to April 30, 2024. This PSA will aware the people about the harmful effect of smoking in the public places, such as restaurants.
This PSA also call on action for policymakers, parliamentarians, and stakeholders to take steps in removing the provision for Designated Smoking Area (DSA) from the remaining public places to save non-smokers, women, and children from the health harms of exposure to tobacco smoke known as Second Hand Smoking (SHS).

The fourth PSA titled ‘Harms of second-hand smoking’ will be aired from May 1 to June 30, 2024. This PSA highlights the harms of second-hand smoke as well as the affect of smoking.  It is noted that these PSA were adopted for Bangladesh those were developed by the Vital Strategies with the message testing study and on-aired in other countries.

This is well established that tobacco harms the health, economy, and development of Bangladesh. Every year, about 161,200 people are killed by tobacco-caused diseases, such as lung cancer, stroke, heart attack and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). These diseases can also happen among non-smokers for exposure to SHS. Due to SHS, premature or stillbirth and asthma and chronic respiratory problem or sudden infant death may happen.

Shafiqul Islam, Head of Programmes – Bangladesh at the Vital Strategies, said this campaign will be instrumental to enhancing public knowledge on harms of tobacco use and smoking, as well as Second Hand Smoking.

Hard-hitting messages were used in this campaigns to sensitise the smoker, tobacco users and their loved ones, he said, mentioning that well established scientific information are being used to encourage people to quit tobacco and ensure smoke free environment at the public places and restaurants.

The campaign will also be supported by Social Media activity on the Stop tobacco Bangladesh Page on Facebook and the corresponding YouTube channel to highlight the campaign messages about 100% smoke free public places, he said.