Govt urged to amend tobacco control law, ban e-cigarettes

Govt urged to amend tobacco control law, ban e-cigarettes

Local non-governmental organisation the Development Organisation of the Rural Poor on Wednesday urged the government to pass the draft amendment of tobacco control act and ban all types of electronic cigarettes at the earliest to make the country tobacco-free by 2040.

“Tobacco companies are spreading rumours against the amendment of tobacco control act. We request the government to revise the act without any delay,” Deputy Executive Director of the organisation Mohammad Zobayer Hasan said at a press conference at the National Press Club in the capital.

Referring to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2017, he said at least 35.3% of people aged over 15 are directly consuming tobacco, while 18% are passive smokers and 20.6% are smoke-free tobacco consumers.

“Every day, the country sees 444 deaths on average due to tobacco consumption,” Zobayer Hasan added.

Member of Parliament from Sirajganj-3 constituency Professor Dr Md Abdul Aziz, Former Dhaka Medical College Orthopaedics Department head Professor Dr Md Shah Alam, Development Organisation of the Rural Poor Executive Advisor Md Azhar Ali

Talukder, among others, were present at the event organised to discuss the role of the media in tobacco control.

“E-cigarettes are now available throughout Bangladesh. It happens at a time when 42 countries across the world have banned the items. Unfortunately, Bangladesh fails to do so,” Abdul Aziz said and called for banning sales of e-cigarettes.

On tobacco, he added that the government policy to limit the consumption of tobacco by raising prices is not working. “Only a ban on retail sales can curb tobacco use.”

The lawmaker said they will vote in favour of the draft amendment of the act while it will be placed in the parliament.

“The government must ensure that no government employee [or former employee] can get involved in tobacco companies. 16,000 people including 169 parliament members, are campaigning for the the law amendment,” said Azhar Ali Talukder.

Dr Shah Alam suggested the government include articles on the adverse effects of tobacco consumption on textbooks. He also called for mass awareness in the rural areas along with that in the capital.

The non-governmental organisation also urged the government to take measures for vanishing smoking zones in different establishments, banning tobacco goods display at shops and stalls, imposing restrictions on sales of cigarettes without packets, and increasing warning space from existing 50% to 90% on cigarette packets.