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Demand for Effective Implementation of Tobacco Control Law to Counter Tobacco Company’s Strategic Advertising

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Although advertising and promotion of tobacco products are prohibited under the Tobacco Control Act, the lack of effective enforcement has led to the tobacco company’s strategic and enticing advertisements resulting in the vulnerability of the country’s youth. Therefore, Dhaka Ahsania Mission Youth Forum for Health and Wellbeing advocates for effectively implementing the Tobacco Control Act, 2005 (amended 2013) to protect the youth.

They emphasized this demand during a press conference held at the auditorium of Dhaka Ahsania Mission, Health Sector on Thursday (30 May 2024) morning. Currently, 48 percent of the total population in Bangladesh comprises young people. The main target of tobacco companies is to attract this vast demographic to increase their business. In this regard, the state must protect the youth from the clutches of tobacco companies. Rather than being a tool for the tobacco industry’s profit, tobacco-addicted youth will hinder the progress of society and the economy.

Presenting the main article at the press conference, Tasnim Hasan and Nasim Hasan, members of Dhaka Ahsania Mission Youth Forum for Health and Wellbeing, stated that the rate of tobacco use among 15-year-olds and above in Bangladesh is 35.3 percent. According to the latest information from the Tobacco Atlas, in 2019, the rate of tobacco use among 10 to 14-year-olds in Bangladesh was 6 percent. On the other hand, according to the Global School-Based Health Survey (GSHS) conducted in 2014, the rate of tobacco use among students aged 13-15 in Bangladesh was 9.2 percent. Despite the prohibition on advertising and promotion of tobacco products under the Tobacco Control Act, the youth of the country are being protected in the face of the greed of tobacco companies due to the lack of effective implementation.

Welcoming remarks were made by Marjana Montaha, Coordinator of Dhaka Ahsania Mission Youth Forum for Health and Wellbeing, who stated that according to Article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), policies need to be adopted and implemented to combat the tactics and interference of the tobacco industry.

Additionally, they demanded the immediate finalization of amendments to the Tobacco Control Act to effectively prohibit the display of tobacco products at points of sale, eliminate designated smoking areas, ban all vaping products including e-cigarettes, and ensure strict enforcement of other provisions of the law, including the cessation of CSR activities of tobacco companies.

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), Program Manager Md. Abdus Salam Mia and Director of Dhaka Ahsania Mission, Health and Wash Sector, Iqbal Masud spoke as speakers at the press conference.

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