Finalizing the draft amendment to the tobacco control act is the call of the hour.

Jul 21, 2022

-Dr. Atiur Rahman at Unnayan Shamannay’s national dialogue

Eminent economist and former governor of Bangladesh Bank- Professor Dr. Atiur Rahman has inferred that the draft prepared and publicized by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to amend the tobacco control act has reflected all the proposals from the anti-tobacco stakeholders. Hence, to achieve the goal of building a tobacco-free country by 2040, which has been set by the honorable Prime Minister, this draft amendment must be finalized. He said so today (21 July 2022) at BishwoShahitto Kendro (Dhaka) at a national dialogue session on the topic organized by the non-government think tank- Unnayan Shamannay. Chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Law, Justice, and Parliamentary Affairs- Md. Shahiduzzaman Sarker, MP (Naogaon 02) graced the dialogue session as the Chief Guest. Panel discussants were Mostofa Jalal Mohiuddin (President, Bangladesh Medical Association); Manjurul Ahsan Bulbul (eminent media personality and former president of BFUJ); Rokeya Kabir (Executive Director, BNPS); Dr. Mahbuba Nasrin (Pro-Vice Chancellor, Bangladesh Open University); Dr. S M Zulfiqar Ali (Senior Research Fellow, BIDS); and Md. Mostafizur Rahman (Lead Policy Advisor, CTFK).

Dr. Atiur Rahman pointed out that the draft amendment to the tobacco control act publicized by the health ministry has reflected all the specific proposals for strengthening the act put forward by the anti-tobacco activists and researchers.

As a result, upon being publicized for public opinion, the said draft amendment has been widely accepted by the stakeholders from all quarters. Over twenty thousand individuals and organizations have formally asserted their support for the proposed draft amendment to the tobacco control act. These include- 155 honorable parliamentarians, over 20 medical practitioners’ organizations (including BMA and Sandhani), over 100 eminent doctors, over 100 national and international NGOs, eminent journalists and journalists’ associations, religious leaders, small business organizations, restaurant owners’ associations, bidi workers, VCs and Pro-VCs some universities, teachers, and students from educational institutions at different levels. Manjurul Ahsan Bulbul, in his remarks, said that while the proposed draft amendment is being widely accepted by the people, the vested interest groups are likely to still attempt to create hurdles in the way of finalizing the amendment. And hence all stakeholders must remain vigilant so that the proposals are materialized. The Chief Guest- Md. Sahiduzzaman, MP reiterated the commitment of the current government to build a tobacco-free country and committed that the parliamentarians will work together to ensure that the proposed amendments are finalized within the shortest possible time.