Around 40 Members of Parliament (MPs) joined at a conference on “Achieving Tobacco-Free Bangladesh by 2040” in Cox’s Bazar on 18 May 2022 to realize this vision of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. This has been recognized as the largest conference in Bangladesh and globally as well of MPs where have come together against tobacco consumption. The three-day long conference has been started from Wednesday at Sea Pearl Beach Hotel at Cox’s Bazar
The event was organized by the Bangladesh Parliamentary Forum for Health and Wellbeing with the support of Shastho Shurokkha Foundation (SSF) and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), Bangladesh. In the inauguration, session was chaired by Prof. Dr. Habibe Millat, MP, Chairman of the Forum. Honorable Foreign Minister Dr A K Abdul Momen MP delivered his remarks virtually and appreciated the forum’s effort to ensure health and safety for the people of the country.
Dr. Md. Abdus Shahid, MP, Committee on Estimates, Bangladesh Parliament, as the Special Guest, said that tobacco is a dangerous killer for human civilization. Both the smoke and smokeless tobacco are hampering public health severely. We should bring amendments in the tobacco law so that we can stop e-smoking in the country. We may also need to be strict on tobacco consumption at public places.
Professor Dr. A.F.M Ruhul Haque, MP Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Science & Technology, as the Special Guest observed that Bangladesh has achieved a lot particularly in the health sector from the firm leadership of our Premier Sheikh Hasina. I think it is our time to join our hands to support her vision and realize it for the sake our people.
At the concluding remarks by the Chair Prof. Dr. Habibe Millat, MP, said that the Bangladesh Parliamentary Forum for Health and Wellbeing is working at policy level to support the Prime Minister’s vision to make Bangladesh tobacco free by 2040. We the MPs came here together from Alwami league, Jatiya Party and BNP to amend the tobacco control law and improve public health safety. This is a unique poltical agreement in our country.
Mr. Matthew L Myers, President, CTFK, attended the event virtually. He highlighted that this is a largest parliamentary event in the world where such a high number of MPs have come together to control tobacco in their country. CTFK will continue its support to realize the vision of making the country tobacco free by 2040. Ms. Vandana Shah, Regional Director, South Asia Programs, CTFK, highlighted the fact that if we do not control tobacco effectively now by 2030, 80% deaths will be from tobacco in low and middle income countries. The event began with keynote presentation by Dr. Nizam Uddin Ahmed, Executive Director, SSF. Dr Bardan Jung Rana, Country Representative of World Health Organization Bangladesh Office also spoke at the event. The event was participated by representative local and national representatives from media and civil society organizations.