According to the Tobacco Control Act (2005), smoking is strictly prohibited in public places as in the restaurants. In a survey conducted by Dhaka Ahsania Mission, a horrendous picture was seen where 98% of the restaurant authorities do not abide by the tobacco control law.
On Saturday, 11 July 2020 at 4 pm, Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM) and Bangladesh Restaurant Owners Association (BROA) jointly arranged an online zoom discussion program.
According to the Tobacco Control law 2005, it is mentioned that it is mandatory to keep the restaurants completely smoke-free and display no-smoking signage in the restaurants.
The survey titled “Baseline Survey to See the Compliance of Tobacco Control Law Implementation at restaurants in Dhaka City” was based on a survey carried out by Dhaka Ahsania Mission on the month of June in 2019 to check whether the restaurants in Dhaka City are abiding the tobacco control law or not.
The aim of the survey is to inform the City Corporation Officials, Deputy Commissioner, Restaurant Owners, Restaurants Owners Association, and other stakeholders about the scenario of the implementation of the tobacco control law at the restaurants in Dhaka City.
The survey was conducted in 371 restaurants in both DNCC and Dhaka DSCC areas (211 restaurants in DNCC and 166 restaurants in DSCC). There were 245 restaurants that had trade licenses and 126 restaurants which did not have trade licenses.
In the 371 restaurants, it was observed that 98% of the restaurants were found not to be complying with the tobacco control law properly and only 2% of the restaurants were complying with the tobacco control law.
Evidence of an overall picture of smoking was found in 34% of the restaurants, in 17.3% of restaurants, direct smoking evidence from ashtrays and buds were found.
In 29.4% of the restaurants, the ashtrays from the cigarettes were found and in 2.6% of restaurants, the smell of smoking was found. 98% of the restaurants were found to have no smoking signages which are mentioned in the law. 92% of the restaurants were seen to display any smoking signages.
It has been further seen in the survey findings that the smoking rate is 18.5% in the restaurants that have a membership of the BROA whereas the smoking rate is 36.9% in the restaurants that do not have a membership of the BROA.
DAM and BROA jointly started to work for creating tobacco-free restaurants in Bangladesh. It is seen that the restaurants that have a membership of the BROA were found to break the tobacco control law much less when compared to non-BROA membership having restaurants.
Even then, the BROA membership having restaurants are not abiding by tobacco control and not displaying any signage notices as per tobacco control law section-8. Only 3.7% of restaurants are abiding by the law as they are displaying the
smoking signage in their restaurants. The scenario of the non-membership having restaurants in abiding such law is even poor.
To ensure the implementation of the tobacco control law DAM has recommended some suggestions to BROA. This includes informing all the restaurants about the tobacco control law and arranging workshops for raising awareness of the restaurant owners and staff regarding tobacco control law, developing various materials such as stickers, leaflets, and no smoking signages and distributing them accordingly.
Ensure that all the restaurants have strict instructions in displaying no smoking signages in the restaurants. Besides, ensure that all the restaurants that are willing to become a part of BROA complies with all the steps regarding tobacco control law and compel them to submit a report of implementing the tobacco control law in the restaurants.
Create a monitoring team with a monitoring format and monitor the restaurants regularly. Include the implementation and progress of the law in the restaurants in the monthly/quarterly coordination meeting along with the other issues.
Secretary-General of the BROA Mr. Rezaul Karim Sarker Robin presided