Journalists at a workshop insisted on enacting a stricter tobacco control law to reduce tobacco consumption which has become a serious threat to public health during the Covid-19 pandemic.
They saw this at the journalists’ workshop titled “Role of the Media in Strengthening Tobacco Control Laws” held today in the conference room of RDRS Bangladesh.
Knowledge for Progress (PROGGA) research and advocacy organization and the Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance jointly organized the workshop with support from Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
Thirty journalists from the Rangpur division attended the event.
The workshop was organized with the aim of highlighting the tobacco-related issues to be addressed in the media to enact a stronger and more timely tobacco control law through the necessary amendments.
PROGGA Tobacco Control Project Leader Md Hasan Shahriar presented a thematic essay titled “Amendment of Tobacco Control Law to Achieve Tobacco Free Bangladesh”.
Citing the research findings, Shahriar said that 1.71 lakh people die from tobacco-related illnesses in Bangladesh and thousands more are crippled each year.
Thirty-five percent of the country’s adult population still use tobacco products, which is very alarming.
“If we do not control tobacco use by enacting a stricter tobacco control law and its proper implementation, the nation will soon fall prey to a possible tobacco pandemic,” he feared.
He said tobacco causes death and is conducive to Covid-19 infection to damage the lungs of patients infected with the coronavirus, causing more deaths.
“Paraguay has totally banned smoking recently in all public places under roofs, public spaces and public transport to protect the public from the risk of infection and victims of Covid-19,” Shahriar said.
“If the existing tobacco control law is not amended and a strengthened and timely law is enacted as soon as possible, it will be a very difficult task to achieve a tobacco-free Bangladesh by 2040” , he added. After the group work, the journalists forwarded suggestions and asked the government to take them into consideration while amending the existing tobacco control law to adopt a stricter one.
The proposals include a ban on smoking in all public places, workplaces and public transport, the abolition of “no-smoking areas”, a ban on the display of tobacco products and its advertisements in places. public.
They also proposed a complete ban on the social responsibility programs of tobacco companies, a ban on the sale of unpackaged “Jorda” and “Gul”, a ban on the import, production and sale of electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products and other emerging tobacco products.
In particular, they suggested increasing the space for health warnings on packages of tobacco products and imposing strict restrictions on their packaging.
The journalist pledged to publish thematic reports highlighting the serious effects of tobacco products and the need to amend the existing tobacco control law to achieve a tobacco-free Bangladesh.