Citizens and policymakers should work together to strengthen tobacco control law

Nov 30, 2022

To make tobacco-free Bangladesh as per the commitment of the Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the law structure needs to be strengthened, and the factors that are encouraging the general people need to be prohibited. In continuation, Designated Smoking Areas (DSA), displaying smoking scenes in movies on condition, and CSR by tobacco companies must be outlawed.  Respected speakers presented their speeches at an opinion exchange session titled ‘Contemporary Anti-Tobacco Movements and Public Thought.’ The event was organized by the non-government think tank Unnayan Shamannay at the Bishwo Shahitto Kendo Bhaban, Dhaka, on 30 November 2022.

Fazle Hossain Badsha, MP (Rajshahi – 02), SM Shahzada, MP (Patuakhali -03), Freedom Fighter Professor Dr. Arup Ratan Choudhury, legendary Bangladeshi actor Abul Hayat, former actor and founder and chairman of Nirapad Sarak Chai (We Demand Safe Roads), Ilias Kanchan and former national football player Ashraf Uddin Ahmed Chunnu and journalist Sushanta K Sinha and others were present in the session. The session was chaired by the organization Chairman and former Governor of Bangladesh Bank, Dr. Atiur Rahman. Media professionals from print and electronic media houses participated in the opinion exchange session.

Dr. Atiur Rahman pointed out at the beginning of the session that policymakers have not only played a notable role in reducing tobacco consumption in Bangladesh and the citizens but also provided significant support in anti-tobacco movements. He added that citizens and policymakers should work together to fulfill the commitment of the Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina through stricter tobacco control laws and their implementation.

UN has declared that the poisonous elements like bidis, cigarettes, and e-cigarettes should be avoided. Our people died more from tobacco diseases than the coronavirus, so it is high time to strengthen tobacco control laws.

Professor Dr. Arup Ratan Choudhury

Fazle Hossain Badsha, MP, General Secretary of Bangladesh Workers’ Party said that a negative impression has been created in general people’s minds against tobacco. The dream of a tobacco-free Bangladesh can proceed if the tobacco control laws are stringent. SM Shahzada, MP shared, “it is evident that the use of tobacco increased at the time of the election campaign. Necessary steps should be taken against the tradition of tempting the voters with bidis and cigarettes during election time.” Abul Hayat said, “displaying smoking scenes in TV screen on condition should be totally banned and this rule of disallowing the smoking scenes should be initiated.”

Recipient of the Ekushey Padak, Professor Dr. Arup Ratan Choudhury urged, “UN has declared that the poisonous elements like bidis, cigarettes, and e-cigarettes should be avoided. Our people died more from tobacco diseases than the coronavirus, so it is high time to strengthen tobacco control laws.

Renowned actor and Ilias Kanchan, Founder and Chairman of Nirapad Sarak Chai (We Demand Safe Road) said, “We cannot do anything if the laws are not strong enough. In the upcoming national election, the election commission should clearly announce that whoever distributes bidis-cigarettes in the election campaign, appropriate punishments will be implemented against them. National award receiver and former Football player Ashraf Uddin Ahmed Chunnu claims, “all types of smoking should be avoided for a healthy life as the usage of tobacco creates health hazard.”

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