Tobacco ban: Industries Ministry quashes health division’s proposal

The Industries Ministry on Wednesday stated that considering the country’s national economy, the production, supply, marketing, and sale of tobacco products should continue.


The Ministry disclosed its observation over the matter in a press statement on Wednesday responding to a call from the Health and Family Welfare Ministry seeking ban of tobacco products.


On Tuesday, the Health Services Division issued a letter to the Industries Ministry, asking to suspend the special permissions given to the tobacco companies recently allowing them to run their businesses.


Industries Ministry said tobacco is an important industry that is closely connected with the livelihoods of thousands of marginal farmers and workers of the country who would face severe consequences out of any suspension.


Tobacco industry also has a large contribution in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the country, and the move would also lead to the government losing huge amounts of revenue, the Ministry said.


The country’s economy is already facing challenges due to coronavirus outbreak and additional closure of industry would affect the national economy severely, the Ministry opted.


Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) identified tobacco products as favourable for the spread of coronavirus and suggested discouraging their use. The risk of being infected with severe COVID-19 is much higher among those who smoke, WHO noted recently.


Bangladesh has seen a spike in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths in recent weeks. On Wednesday, the country announced detection of 1617 more patients in a span of 24 hours, raising the total number of cases to 26,738.


The virus also claimed 16 more lives during the period, pushing up the national tally to 386.


Source: United News of Bangladesh