Experts suggest pictorial campaigns against tobacco

DHAKA - Experts at a meeting in the city today laid emphasize on launching pictorial awareness campaigns against all forms of tobacco to control non-communicable diseases (NCDs) caused by it.

The experts laid the emphasis while exchanging views at a strategic meeting organized by Vital Strategies in association with Heath and Family Welfare Ministry at a hotel in the city.

Vital Strategies Director Rebecca Perl, Country Advisor Shafiqul Islam and Technical Adviser Tahir Turk presented three keynote papers at the '2017 High Level Tobacco Control Meeting.'

Deputy Secretary of Information Ministry Mohammad Abdus Sobhan, WHO National Professional Officer Dr Syed Mahfuzul Haque, BTV Deputy Director General Surath Kumar Sarkar, Commissioner of Custom, Excise and VAT Commissionerate, Dhaka (West) Dr Md Shahidul Islam, Coordinator of National Tobacco Control Cell Mohammad Ruhul Quddus and Lead consultant of CTFK Shariful Alam took part in the discussion, among others.

In his paper, Tahir Turk referred to a pictorial anti-tobacco campaign implemented in 2016 by Vital Strategies and said 75 percent of tobacco users had tried to quit smoking or taking any other kind of tobacco after seeing the campaign.

He underscored the need for implementing the pictorial warning campaign on all kinds of tobacco packs.

Referring to WHO report that four major NCDs - cancer, heart disease, diabetes and chronic lung diseases- are responsible for 59 percent deaths in Bangladesh, the experts urged the government to adopt 1 percent Health Development Surcharge (HDS) on tobacco products for generating fund to prevent the rising prevalence of NCDs.

Taking part in the discussion Dr Syed Mahfuzul Haque said the government agencies like Bangladesh Television (BTV), Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) could play a vital role in anti-tobacco campaign by publishing and broadcasting more news or advertisements to create awareness against tobacco.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)