Minister Hasan Mahmud promises measures to 'free Bangladesh from tobacco'

“We will do whatever necessary to implement the announcement on freeing Bangladesh from tobacco menace,” he told an event in Dhaka on Wednesday.

The minister claimed the number of smokers in Bangladesh has decreased to 35 percent of the population from 40 percent.

But he expressed concerns over the rising use of e-cigarette.

“It should be banned in Bangladesh. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is aware of this development,” Hasan said.

Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance or ATMA Co-convenor Nadia Kiron moderated the programme where anti-tobacco group PROGGA’s Head of Tobacco Control Md Hasan Shahriar presented a study on implementing Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control or FCTC, which relates to protection of health policies from the tobacco industry’s influence.

If the tobacco industry continues its influence on health policies of Bangladesh, it will not be possible to achieve the goal to free the country from the menace by 2040, Shahriar said.

Besides health reasons, Saber Hossain Chowdhury MP said tobacco should be controlled for legal, ethical and economic reasons as well.

ATMA Convenor Mortuza Haider Liton, PROGGA Executive Director ABM Zubair and Nari Jote leader Farida Akter also delivered speech at the programme presided over by former Dhaka University vicev-chancellor AAMS Arefin Siddique.

Mary Assunta, Head of Global Research and Advocacy, GGTC, Thammasat University, Thailand and Muhammad Ruhul Quddus of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids were also present.

The minister handed PROGGA Anti-Tobacco Journalism Awards 2019 to Sohada Afrin, Sharif Sumon and Mamun Abdullah.

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