Health Minister Professor Dr Samanta Lal Sen for stronger anti-tobacco law to reduce tobacco consumption

BSS || Shining BD

Published: 3/21/2024 5:45:50 AM

Health and Family Welfare Minister Professor Dr Samanta Lal Sen today laid emphasis on strengthening tobacco control law to discourage people from consuming tobacco and tobacco products.

"There is no alternative to stronger anti-tobacco law. A stronger tobacco control law is a must to reduce the death toll caused by tobacco," he said while speaking at the Secretariat here during a meeting with delegations from PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) and Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA).
During the meeting, Senior Journalist Manzurul Ahsan Bulbul and Programme Manager of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) Md Abdus Salam Mian, Executive Director of PROGGA ABM Zubair and ATMA Convenor Mortuza Haider Liton, among others, were present on the occasion.

The minister also affirmed his ministry's full support behind the Health Ministry's attempt to amend the tobacco control law, a press release said.

During the meeting, PROGGA and ATMA informed that currently the prevalence of tobacco use stands at 35.3 percent (37.8 million) of the adult population (15 y/o and above). Tobacco-related deaths and diseases cost the economy since the financial toll is much higher than the revenue generated from tobacco sector.

Realising the extent of tobacco's devastation, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has already voiced her commitment to building a tobacco-free country by 2040 and accordingly provided the directive to bring time-fitting changes to the tobacco control law.

Following the clear directives from the premier, the Health Ministry has taken the initiative to amend the law.
Some of the proposals included in the draft amendment are - eliminating Designated Smoking Areas (DSAs) in all public places and public transports, banning the display of tobacco products, banning so-called corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes of tobacco companies, banning the sale of loose tobacco products, banning the production, import and sale of e-cigarettes and other vaping products and increasing the area allotted for graphic health warning to 90 percent from existing 50 percent.

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