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To Achieve the SDGs Amended Tobacco ACT is a Must

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Leaders of Aviation and Tourism Journalist Forum Bangladesh – ATJFB, the country’s leading media workers’ organization, have urged the speedy passage of the amendment to the Tobacco Control Act to protect the health of the country’s people and build a strong and talented young society.

On Saturday morning (August 26) in a workshop with ATJFB on the amendment of the Tobacco Control Act organized by Dhaka Ahsaniya Mission with media workers, they also said that if the modification of the Act is passed, deaths will decrease, SDG goals will be achieved, and Bangladesh will be free of tobacco.

The meeting was chaired by Iqbal Masud, Director of Health and Wash Sector of Dhaka Ahsania Mission, and Mostafizur Rahman, Lead Policy Advisor of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Bangladesh, Tanjib Anwar, Online In-Charge of BSS and ATJFB President, and Ziaul Haque Sabuj, Special Representative of ATJFB General Affairs and Banglavision, addressed the meeting.

Md. Shariful Islam, Coordinator of the Tobacco Control Project, presented the main article at the meeting. At this time, he said that non-smoking citizens 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. Recently the Ministry of Health has prepared a draft for further revision of the Tobacco Control Act. If this draft is passed, several weak aspects of the Tobacco Control Act will be removed, including banning of smoking zones in all public places including restaurants, display of tobacco products in sales centers, retail sales, e-cigarettes and CSR of tobacco companies, and the law will be promoted to the international standard.

At that time, Md. Mostafizur Rahman said the law amendment is currently in the Cabinet Division. To speed up the process of its passage, media workers are called upon to play an essential role in drawing the attention of policymakers to the issue through their writings.

Iqbal Masud said that if the draft that the Ministry of Health has prepared for further amendments to the Tobacco Control Act is passed, the law in the country will be consistent and more robust with the FCTC. As a result, by 2040, the establishment of a tobacco-free Bangladesh announced by the honorable Prime Minister will be achieved.

Among others present at the workshop were Machranga Television Special Correspondent, Niaz Morshed, Dhaka Mail Senior Reporter Imrul Kayes, Bhorer Dak’s Imrul Kawsar, BTV’s Khalid Ahsan and Saifullah Sumon, NTV’s ASM Atiq, GTV’s Staff Reporter Bayjid Hossain, Jayzadeen’s Senior Journalist Altab Hossain, Dailystar’s Senior Reporter Rashedul, Asian TV Chief Reporter Baten Biplab and many others.

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