Amended tobacco control act will safeguard passive smokers

Amended tobacco control act will safeguard passive smokers

The proposed amendment of the “Tobacco Control Act” will upgrade it to international standards as it will be possible to safeguard the passive smokers from the tobacco exposures as well as make the youngsters refrain from smoking, economists and members of the parliament have said.

They also noted that “Smart Bangladesh” will be the country for strong and healthy young generations in which there is no space for tobacco and the passage of the “Smoking and Tobacco Products Usage (Control) (Amendment) Act-2013” is crucial for that.

They made the observations at an opinion-exchange session on “Tobacco Control Act and Contemporary Thoughts” on Tuesday organised by “Unnayan Shamannay” in the capital.

Deputy Speaker Advocate Shamsul Haque Tuku was present as the chief guest.

Former Governor of Bangladesh Bank and Chairman of Unnayan Shamannay, Professor Atiur Rahman presented the keynote paper in the programme.

“The Tobacco Control Act will be heightened at the international standards through this proposed amendment,” said Atiur Rahman, adding: “But some people are spreading propaganda that this amendment is associated with economic costs. Rather it will eventually bring benefits to the macro economy”.

To make a “tobacco-free Bangladesh” by 2040 in the context of the Prime Minister’s pledge for strengthening the “Tobacco Control Act”, relevant ministries have formulated a draft “Smoking and Tobacco Products Usage (Control) (Amendment) Act-2013”, Advocate Shamsul Haque Tuku said.

He added: “Policymakers received positive responses from the people, which motivated them to make the amendment with no further delay”.

“If we want to build a smart Bangladesh, it must be a tobacco-free nation first. There is no option left than to amend the law as soon as possible,” the deputy speaker said.

Prof Dr Abdul Aziz, MP (Sirajganj-3); Prof Dr Pran Gopal Datta, MP (Cumilla-7); Shamsun Nahar, MP (reserved women seat-13), and Mohammad Shahiduzzaman, MP (Meherpur-2) were also present at the programme.

During the open discussion, different anti-tobacco organisations emphasised accelerating the amendment process.

They said that tobacco is responsible for approximately 450 deaths in the country every day, thus, quick amendment of the act is most desired.

Prof Dr Pran Gopal Datta, said that massive usage of tobacco can be reduced through comprehensive awareness and motivation. He also added that any kind of bidi-cigarette usage during election campaign needs to be strictly prohibited.

Prominent labour leader Shamsun Nahar noted that smoking is highly evident among the labours, and they face financial crisis due to tobacco consumption. They can be encouraged to quit smoking if this Act is enforced which will also result in their financial savings.

Source: TBS news