Staff Reporter : Bangladesh is significantly lagging behind in achieving global tobacco control benchmark.
The Designated Smoking Areas (DSAs), as allowed by the existing tobacco control law, is a major contributor to Bangladesh’s lack of progress.
Speakers discussed this on Sunday during a virtual discussion titled “WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2023 and the Bangladesh Situation”, organized by PROGGA and Anti Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA) with support from Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK).
WHO’s recent report has drawn major focus on ensuring smoke-free environment, an issue of grave importance for Bangladesh.
A number of southeast Asian countries, such as Thailand, Nepal, Afghanistan have performed satisfactorily in the indicator involving smoke-free environment, Bangladesh is lagging considerably behind.
Distinguished economist and the convener of the National Anti-Tobacco Platform, Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said, “It should be considered as a matter of shame that we are lagging behind even Afghanistan and Nepal in achieving a total smoke-free environment.
We must keep working to get this draft amendment passed and not allow ourselves to get frustrated.”
Hossain Ali Khondkar, Coordinator (Additional Secretary), the National Tobacco Control Cell (NTCC) said, “If we can pass the proposals put forth in the draft amendment, we will see the position of our country climb up in the next global tobacco control report of WHO.”
Md. Mostafizur Rahman, Lead Policy Advisor, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK)- Bangladesh said, “A smoker does not have any moral right to harm the well-being of a non-smoker.”
Minar Mansur, Poet, Journalist, and Director, National Book Centre, Dr. Syed Mahfuzul Haque, National Professional Officer, WHO and Shahnaz Munni, Novelist and Chief News Editor of News24, Mortuza Haider Liton, Convenor of Anti Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA); ABM Zubair, Executive Director, PROGGA and representatives of different anti-tobacco organizations.
Sadia Galiba Prova, Coordinator of PROGGA, hosted the event whereas Hasan Shahriar, Head of Programs, PROGGA, presented the findings.