Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA) raised the demand for a quick passage of the draft amendment of the tobacco control law. The organization made such demand today (21 June 2023, Wednesday) during a meeting held at the BMA Bhaban of the capital.
It was informed during the event that tobacco companies have become desperate to eliminate the proposed ban on e-cigarettes and vape products included in the draft amendment of the tobacco control law. To cloud the judgment of the policymakers, these companies have even started spreading fabricated information about the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international anti-tobacco organizations. Notably, WHO has identified e-cigarettes and vape products as ‘a serious threat to health’, and a number of 32 countries, including India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Singapore, have already banned these products accordingly.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has included several key provisions in the draft amendment proposals which will transform the existing tobacco control law into one of the best in the world. Some of these proposed provisions are: eliminating Designated Smoking Areas (DSAs), banning the display of tobacco products, outlawing so-called corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs of tobacco companies, banning the sale of all sorts of loose tobacco products, banning the production, import, export, storage, promotion, and sale of e-cigarettes and vape products (ENDS), increasing the area allotted for graphic health warning (GHW) to 90 percent from existing 50 percent.
Urging the government to ensure a quick passage of the amendment, ATMA claims that the longer it takes for the government to pass the amendment, the higher tobacco-related deaths and losses will rise. Additionally, the network urges the policymakers not to get confused by the lies propagated by tobacco companies and some organizations fixated on protecting the interest of the tobacco industry.
In the presence of 40 ATMA members, Mr. Mizan Chowdhury, Co-convener, ATMA, and Mr. Mehadi Hasan of PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) shed light on ongoing organizational activities and future courses of action. Among the participants of the special discussion session were Md. Mostafizur Rahman, Bangladesh Lead Policy Advisor for Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK); Mortuza Haider Liton, Convener, ATMA and ABM Zubair, Member-Secretary, ATMA.