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97 MPs recommend Cabinet Secretary take action to increase tobacco prices

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In a letter to the Finance Minister initiated by the ‘Bangladesh Parliamentary Forum for Health and Wellbeing (BPFHW)’ to prevent non-communicable diseases and create additional revenue opportunities, 97 MPs have recommended an increase taxes and prices of all types of tobacco and tobacco products. As part of this, the forum has informed Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam and recommended taking action regarding this.

A copy of the letter signed by 97 MPs has been placed to Khandker Anwarul Islam at Cabinet Secretary’s Office. On behalf of BPFHW, secretariat organization Shasstho Shurokkha Foundation Executive Director Dr. Nizam Uddin Ahmed and director Dr. Rafiqul Islam share the letter to the Cabinet Secretary.

BPFHW states that an increase of taxes and prices of tobacco products will be helpful to archive Tobacco-Free Bangladesh by 2040, which has been announced by Prime Minister. Large-scale of revenue generation will be possible if the proposed recommendations are implemented; which will used to develop the health service as well as strengthen the national economy. Not only that, it will save countless lives from untimely death and prevent tobacco use.

In the letter, MPs recommend simplifying the tax system on tobacco products and increasing price of low and medium tire cigarettes price, In order to protect the health of low-income people and keep them away from using tobacco products. It has also been also recommended to increase the prices of bidis and all kinds of smokeless tobacco products.

35.3 percent of adults (37.4 million) in Bangladesh use tobacco (smoking and non-smokers), while about 38.4 million adults are exposed to secondhand smoke in various public places, workplaces and public transport without smoking (GATS 2017). More than 1 lakh 61 thousand people die every year in Bangladesh due to tobacco use. In the 2016-17 financial year, the amount of economic loss (loss of medical expenses and productivity) of tobacco use was 30,560 crore rupees.

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