Strategic tobacco control workshop held in Dhaka

DHAKA- A daylong workshop on Bangladesh Strategic Tobacco Control was held in the city in order to expedite the ongoing anti-tobacco campaigns in the country where 100,000 die from tobacco related illnesses every year.

The Vital Strategies, an international public health organization, organized the workshop at a city hotel here. Senior level government officials from concerned ministries and representatives from the anti- tobacco organizations took part in the workshop, said a press release.

Rebecca Perl, Dr. Tahir Turk and Md. Shaqikul Islam of Vital Strategies conducted the workshop.

The speakers at the event stressed the importance of mass media campaigns for effective tobacco control and reducing tobacco use in Bangladesh. Vital Strategies shared its previous work on tobacco control in Bangladesh and discussed future plan.

They said the Health Develop Surcharge revenue collected from tobacco products for prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) could be poured to the proven, cost-effective, best practice interventions locally to reduce tobacco-related diseases.

For instance, they said, the mass media graphic warning campaigns for tobacco control delivered population-level behavioral impacts. When these campaigns are sustained over time, they motivate people to think about the harms of tobacco use and to take a quit attempt.

According to the release more than 43 million Bangladeshis smoke or use smokeless forms of tobacco causing an annual death of almost 100,000 every year while 382,000 others suffer from chronic illnesses.

According to The Tobacco Atlas, tobacco is the cause of 14.6 percent of adult male deaths and 5.7 percent of adult female deaths in Bangladesh - more than the average in other low-income countries.

A significant number of Bangladeshi youths also use tobacco, with over 9 percent of boys and 2.8 percent of girls aged 13 to 15 consuming some tobacco product.

Statistically, these children are more likely to become lifetime users of tobacco and to die from tobacco-related diseases, the release added.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)