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Stronger tobacco control laws are needed to ban DSA

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Leaders of Aviation and Tourism Journalist Forum Bangladesh – ATJFB, the country’s leading media workers’ organization, feel that a strong tobacco control law is needed to abolish ‘Designated Smoking Zones (DSA)’ in public places.

They said these things in a virtual meeting with ATJFB on strengthening the tobacco control law organized by Dhaka Ahsania Mission with media persons on Wednesday.

The meeting was chaired by Mokhleshur Rahman, Deputy Director, Health and Wash Sector, Dhaka Ahsania Mission. Programs Manager of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Bangladesh Abdus Salam Miah, Communication Manager Humaira Sultana and Tanjib Anwar, Online In-charge of BASS and President of ATJFB were also present at that meeting.

Md. Shariful Islam, Coordinator of the Tobacco Control Project, presented the main article at the meeting. He said that non-smokers are suffering from the harm caused by indirect smoking due to the presence of smoking zones in public places, restaurants, and public transport in the current ‘Smoking and Tobacco Use (Control) Act 2005’. This increases the risk of heart disease by 85%. On the other hand, 73% of restaurants using smoking zones display tobacco company advertising materials. He also said that already 67 countries of the world have banned smoking in public places.

At that time, Mokhlesur Rahman said that if the draft that the Ministry of Health has prepared for further amendments to the Tobacco Control Act is passed, the law will be consistent and stronger with the FCTC in the country. As a result, by 2040, the establishment of tobacco-free Bangladesh announced by the Honorable Prime Minister will be accelerated.

Abdus Salam said that non-smokers as well as service workers are victims of indirect smoking if there are designated areas for smoking (DSA) in various public areas including hotels, restaurants, and public transport. Several Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, Nepal, and Afghanistan, have done well in the smoke-free environment index, but Bangladesh is far behind in this regard. However, if the draft amendment containing the proposal to cancel DSA is passed, Bangladesh will also reach the ranks of these countries.

The workshop was attended by DBC Special Correspondent Rajeev Ghosh, Bangla Tribune Senior Reporter Akbar Hossain, Channel 24’s Mahfuz Kamal, Kaler Kanth’s Masood Rumi, Independent TV’s Ashiq Hossain, Baishakhi Television’s Rita Nahar, Ajker’s Manjurul Islam, RTV’s Juljas. Kabir, Kamran Sadiq of Business Standard, Sabbir Ahmed of ATN News, Adnan Rahman of Dhaka Post among others.

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