MPs and doctors made specific proposals to amend the tobacco control law. In particular, the negotiators emphasized the need to amend the existing tobacco control law.
Barrister Shamim Haider Patwary, MP, Gaibandha-1 and Member, Standing Committee on the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Advocate Syeda Rubina Akhter Mira, MP, Women’s Seat-24 and Member, Standing Committee on the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, Professor Dr. Pran Gopal Datta, former Vice-Chancellor, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University and Professor Dr. Sohel Reza Choudhury, Head of Department, Department of Epidemiology and Research, National Heart Foundation Hospital and Research Institute took part in the live discussion program organized by Dhaka Ahsania Mission on the evening of August 7.
The theme of the discussion program ‘Corona Dialogue: Episode-31’ conducted by Iqbal Masud, Director, Health and Wash Sector; Dhaka Ahsania Mission was ‘Amendment of Tobacco Control Act is needed to realize the dream of Hon’ble Prime Minister’.
Meanwhile, Barrister Shamim Haider Patwary, MP, said that the usage of tobacco or tobacco products is harmful to health. And there is no alternative to the elimination of tobacco and tobacco products in health care. But because of the attractive presentation of e-cigarettes, the younger generation is more likely to fall victim to it, which could be detrimental to the nation. There is no specific law in Bangladesh regarding the ban on e-cigarettes / heated tobacco / vaping tobacco or similar products. Since Bangladesh is dependent on imports of electronic cigarettes and all related items and has not yet started making or producing them, it will be easy to ban them in this country and now is the right time to ban them by amending the current law.
Advocate Syeda Rubina Akhter Mira, MP, said that although smoking is prohibited in public places in our country, in many cases it is not obeying. In particular, a tourism-friendly environment is essential for the development of the tourism sector. That’s why smoking in all public places, including restaurants and tourist areas, should be banned. Therefore, it is necessary to make public places smoke-free by amending the law.
Professor Dr. Pran Gopal Datta said the World Health Organization has identified such products as harmful to the body, regardless of whether they are known as heat-not-burn or e-cigarettes. An e-cigarette is as harmful as 20 cigarettes. E-cigarette use can cause heart attacks, strokes, and lung damage. The ingredients found in e-cigarettes are responsible for causing cancer, including paralysis of various cells in the body. E-cigarettes contain propylene glycol, glycerin, polyethylene glycol, various flavors, and nicotine. As these chemicals heat up, they produce the same amount of formaldehyde as cigarette smoke, which causes irreparable damage to the blood circulation in the human body.
Professor Dr. Sohel Reza Choudhury said that the existing barriers to tobacco control are: the existing law allows smoking in public transport and restaurants in certain cases, the display of tobacco products in sales outlets is not prohibited, the sale of single sticks or retail sticks of bidi-cigarettes is not prohibited. The issue of import and sale control or ban on tobacco products is not covered, pictorial health warnings fail to play an effective role in not determining the size and volume of packaging of all types of tobacco products and the tobacco company’s ‘social responsibility program’ or CSR activities are not banned. In addition, most countries in the world do not have the opportunity to buy a single-stick cigarette. But there is no obligation in our country to do that. Legal obligations are needed in these matters. Therefore, it is necessary to amend the law addressing all the loopholes of the law in tobacco control.