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World No Tobacco Day Tomorrow

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The World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) will be observed tomorrow (31 May 2024, Friday) around the globe. The global theme of WNTD 2024 is “protecting children from tobacco industry interference”. In Bangladesh, the event will be observed under the title “Tamak Companir Hastokkhep Pratihato Kari, Shishuder Surokkha Nishchit Kori“.

According to 2022 World Health Organization (WHO) data, globally at least 37 million young people, aged 13–15 years, use some form of tobacco on a regular basis. Tobacco industry often employs a number of ill tactics to get the children and adolescents hooked their deadly brands. The list of cunning tactics includes: marketing flavoured tobacco products, making tobacco products available near educational institutions, using social media celebrities to promote tobacco brands, sponsoring events, and most importantly, opposing any attempt to adopt and implement strong tobacco control law and tobacco tax measures.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the US, those who get hooked on tobacco before the age of 21 are most likely to become lifetime users of such deadly products. Global School-based Health Survey 2014 (GSHS), the prevalence of tobacco use among students aged 13-15 in Bangladesh is 9.2 percent.

Tobacco is the only legal consumer product in the world that kills people. When one generation of tobacco users succumb to death or quit due to the diseases caused, tobacco companies create a new batch of users, comprising children, adolescents and youth, to replace the one that expired. The child who gets trapped in the allure of tobacco industry’s flashy advertisements eventually becomes a lifetime consumer of the company. It should be noted that tobacco-related diseases cause 161000 deaths each year in Bangladesh.

On the occasion of WNTD 2024, ABM Zubair, Executive Director, PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) said, “The youth comprises 48 percent of Bangladesh’s total population. They are the main target of tobacco companies. We must safeguard this generation by strengthening tobacco control law.”

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