Journalists and dignitaries have demanded that the law must be amended to make all public places, including restaurants and tourist areas, 100% smoke-free. The demand was made at a virtual meeting on January 25. The meeting was attended by members of the Executive Committee of Aviation and Tourism Journalists Forum of Bangladesh (ATJFB), officials of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids Bangladesh and the tobacco control project of Dhaka Ahsania Mission.
Md. Mukhlesur Rahman, Assistant Director, Health Sector, Dhaka Ahsania Mission delivered the welcome address at the meeting presided over by ATJFB President and ATN Bangla News Editor Nadira Kiron. Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids Bangladesh’s Lead Policy Advisor Md. Mostafizur Rahman and Tanzim Anwar, General Secretary of ATJFB and Online Incharge of BSS spoke as guests at the meeting. Program Officer Sharmin Akhter Rini presented the keynote paper at the meeting moderated by Rezaur Rahman Rizvi, Media Manager, Tobacco Control Project, Dhaka Ahsania Mission.
Md. Mukhlesur Rahman, Assistant Director, Health Sector, Dhaka Ahsania Mission, said that 63 countries, including Canada, Spain and Nepal, have laws prohibiting smoking zones in public places. However, the law of our country provides for smoking zones in public places such as multi-room restaurants, public transport (trains, launches) and non-mechanical public transport. As a result, non-smokers also go to these places and become victims of secondhand smoke. Therefore, in order to protect the health of non-smokers, Section 7 of the Tobacco Control Act should be repealed and designated smoking areas in all public places should be banned.
Md. Mostafizur Rahman, Lead Policy Advisor of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids Bangladesh, said that non-smokers have the right to protect themselves from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. However, the number of victims of secondhand smoke is higher. Since the smoke from smoking cannot be controlled. That’s why smoking in all public places should be banned. In this case, the media can convey this message to the government on a regular basis.
Nadira Kiran, president of ATJFB and news editor of ATN Bangla, said that if smoking is banned in the air, then strict laws should be enacted to ban smoking in other public transport as well. In addition, all concerned stakeholders should take initiative to keep restaurants and hotels 100% smoke free. Therefore, the law should be amended to make public places completely smoke free.
The members of ATJFB who participated in the meeting in collaboration with Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids are Masud Rumee (Kaler Kantho), Shafiullah Sumon (BTV), Manjurul Islam (Balik Barta), Rita Nahar (Baishakhi TV), Baten Biplob (Asian TV). ), Imrul Kausar Emon (Bhorer Dak), Rashidul Hasan (The Daily Star), Altab Hossain (Yay Yay Din), Julhas Kabir (RTV), Touhidul Islam (Our Time) and Abdullah Tuhin (Jamuna TV).