DHAKA, May 31, 2017 (BSS) - Health and Family Welfare Minister Mohammad Nasim today said a sharp rise in tobacco cultivation is keeping a negative impact on food production in the country.
"We should find out ways of alternative livelihood for the farmers who are engaged in tobacco cultivation," he told a discussion at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium here on the occasion of the World No Tobacco Day.
With the theme "Tobacco - a threat to development", the World No Tobacco Day -2017 is being observed in the country and elsewhere across the globe today.
State Minister for Health and Family Welfare Zahid Maleque, Director General of Directorate General of Health Service (DGHS) Prof Dr Abul Kalam Azad, representatives of different local and international organizations, among others, addressed the discussion with Additional Secretary (development) of the Health and Family Welfare Ministry Harun-Ar- Rashid in the chair.
Nasim said, "The country's 43.3 percent people use tobacco and tobacco products. Among the total tobacco users, a significant number of women chew smokeless tobacco in Bangladesh."
Both smoke and smokeless tobacco cause serious diseases including cancer, heart diseases, he said adding, "There is no beneficial side of tobacco uses. It is harming the people physically and financially," he added.
With concerted efforts of all, a social movement should be launched across the country to make a tobacco-free Bangladesh, Nasim added.
State Minister Maleque said nearly one lakh people in the country die due to use of tobacco and tobacco products.
"In Bangladesh, around 60 percent patients are affected by non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Tobacco consumption is responsible for 80 NCDs," he added.
According to WHO, Bangladesh earns around Taka 2,400 crore per year from the tobacco sector, but the country incurs yearly loss of about Taka 5,000 crore as treatment cost for fatal diseases, he said, adding that the gross loss due to the fatal diseases in tobacco sector is Taka 2,600 crore.
The government has amended the Smoking and Tobacco Products Usage (control) Act 2005 to make it more effective and time-befitting, he said, adding, "We have also enacted the Smoking and Tobacco Products Usage (control) Rule-2015 so that this law could be used smoothly to make a tobacco-free country."
According to a study in 2004 conducted by WHO, tobacco kills 6 million people each year worldwide and the death toll is likely to reach 8 million a year if the current trend continues.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)