National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh and Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA) jointly organized a seminar on 01 November 2021 titled ‘Importance of Amending Tobacco Control Law to protect public health and prevent non-communicable diseases. The seminar was at BMA Bhaban and members of the Central Executive Committee and representatives from some other renowned professional organizations of physician’s participated in the seminar.
Professor Sohel Reza Choudhury, Head of the Department of Epidemiology and Research of the National Heart Foundation Hospital and Research Institute, presented the keynote at the seminar. National Professor Brigadier (Retd.) Abdul Malik, Founder and President of the National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh was also present as the Chief Guest. He said various aspects of the country’s existing smoking and tobacco use (control) law were in line with the World Health Organization’s FCTC, but there were weaknesses in some areas. If these vulnerabilities are corrected, the law will be more effective.
The event was presided over by BMA President Dr Mostafa Jalal Mohiuddin. He said if the amendments to the Tobacco Control Act raised by the National Heart Foundation were added, it would be possible to control non-communicable diseases in tobacco-controlled Bangladesh by 2040 as directed by Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Prof. Khondoker Abdul Awal (Rizvi), Secretary-General of the National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh said that currently, TC law amendment is one of the important national issues to protect public health. The amendments to the Tobacco Control Act should be presented to the concerned ministry jointly by the Bangladesh Medical Association and the National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh.
Speakers at the meeting demanded six important amendments to the Tobacco Control Act. Abolish the provision of ‘Designated Smoking Areas (DSA) in public places and public transport, ban the display of tobacco products in stores, ban the CSR of tobacco companies, ban the import, manufacture, sale and use of e-cigarettes, increase the size of pictorial health warnings printed on tobacco products and Prohibit the retail sale of tobacco products. BMA EC members expressed their interest to include the tobacco control issues within their activities of social movement.
Besides, the negotiators also said that not only the law should be enacted but also strict enforcement of the law should be ensured. All forms of financial gain in the tobacco industry should be stopped and textbooks on the harmful effects of tobacco should be included in building social movements.
BMA Secretary-General Dr Md. Ehteshamul Huq Choudhury conducted the meeting.
The meeting was attended by, among others, members of the BMA Central Executive Committee, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr Md. Sharfuddin Ahmed, former Vice-Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Prof. Kanak Kanti Barua, Secretary-General of the Society of Medicine, Prof. Ahmedul Kabir and the President of the Society of Respiratory Medicine, Professor. Mirza Hiron, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) Bangladesh team etc.