Anti-tobacco lobby wants stricter measures introduced through legislation

In a bid to ensure fully smoking-free environment, two anti-tobacco advocacy organisations –-PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) and Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA)— on Monday proposed that the ban on smoking be extended to all public places, workplaces and public transport, including abolishment of ‘designated smoking zones’ provided in public places and work places.

A delegation of PROGGA and ATMA met Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque and placed a set of the proposals before him.

The other proposals include to prohibit the display of tobacco products at the points-of-sale, banning the CSR activities of tobacco companies completely, forbidding the sale of single sticks and unpackaged smokeless tobacco (Jorda and Gul), and pre-emptive ban on the import and export of e-cigarette or heated tobacco products.

During the meeting, the Health Minister assured that the tobacco control law will be amended aiming to reduce the tobacco use in the country, said a press release.

The Minister said his ministry has relentlessly been working to build a tobacco-free Bangladesh by 2040 as committed by the Prime Minister.

In order to achieve the Prime Minister’s commitment, stringent regulations will be imposed gradually to reduce tobacco use, he said adding that earlier there was no use of graphic health warnings on packages of tobacco products, but it has already been introduced through an amendment.

Moreover, previously people used to smoke in public places as well as in passenger planes. It has also been checked banning it in the law, said Zahid Maleque.

The current law is being amended to make it more updated and time- fitting, he added.

The Minister assured that the proposals placed by PROGGA and ATMA will be taken into account seriously during the process of amendment.

At the meeting, noted journalist Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul, ATMA Convener Mortuza Haidar Liton and Head of Tobacco Control Program from PROGGA Md. Hasan Shahriar, among others, discussed about tobacco control and stressed the need for amendment of tobacco control law.

Source: United News of Bangladesh