Passage of revised tobacco control act needed to protect public health: State minister
The revised draft of the tobacco control act needs to be passed quickly to make the initiative taken by the prime minister to protect public health successful, said the state minister for disaster management and relief.
"I promise to play a leading role in favour of the revised draft law when it will be placed before the cabinet," said Md Enamur Rahman, state minister for disaster management and relief, at a seminar titled "Expectations to policymakers to achieve a tobacco-free Bangladesh before the year 2040" on Wednesday.
The Development Organization of the Rural Poor (DORP) organised the seminar at Cirdap Auditorium in the capital.
Enamur Rahman said the six proposals attached to the revised draft are very timely and effective. All parties will benefit if the law is passed quickly.
The six proposals to strengthen tobacco control laws put forward by the DORP are – abolition of designated smoking areas in all public spaces and public transport, ban on tobacco companies' corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, ban on display of tobacco products at sales points, ban on import, production, consumption and marketing of e-cigarettes or emerging heated tobacco products and increasing the size of pictorial health warnings on bidi and cigarette packs from 50% to 90%.
"We know that there are various health risks associated with smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products. Campaigns should be stepped up to make everyone aware of the harmful effects of tobacco," said Md Enamur Rahman, who attended the programme as the chief guest.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has expressed her determination to make Bangladesh tobacco-free by 2040 by prioritising public health. She has also pledged to amend the Tobacco Control Act in line with the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has taken the initiative to modernise the Tobacco Control Act by giving utmost importance to this announcement from the prime minister.
The draft Tobacco Control Law Amendment Committee has been constituted with a view to further strengthening the Smoking and Use of Tobacco Products (Control) Act 2005 (amended in 2013). The final draft is currently under review by the Cabinet, said a press release from the DORP.