Despite signing and ratifying the international tobacco control agreement (WHO FCTC), Bangladesh is relatively backward in tobacco control among South Asian countries. Bangladesh is lagging behind due to the various efforts of crafty tobacco industries of creating obstacles in formulation and implementation of the policy. To tackle the harmful effects of tobacco, Health Development Surcharge has imposed on all types of tobacco products in the budget of 2014-2015 fiscal year; but still there are no specific policies for using this money, tobacco control law implementation activities are being interrupted. This was urged in a sit-in program organized by Work for a Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust on the demand of keeping free all the tobacco control activities from tobacco industries influence including surcharges management policy in front of the National Press Club on 18 July 2017.
The program was presided Syeda Anonna Rahman, Program Manager of WBB Trust. Helal Ahmed, Secretary General of Prottyasha Anti-Drug Club; Kazi Md. Hasibul Huq, Senior Advocacy Officer of AID Foundation; Farzana Zaman Liza, Research Assistant of Tobacco Control and Research Cell; Anadi Kumar Mondol, Executive Director of Prodesh; Feroza Begum, Executive Director of Banchte Shekho Nari and Makibul Hasan Bappy, Pesident of Youth Sun spoke in the program. Shuvo Karmokar, Assistant Advocacy Officer of WBB Trust moderated the program.
Speakers said, ‘currently 1% surcharge collected from all types of tobacco products that are imported and manufactured in Bangladesh. Because of no specific policy, the earned money cannot be used for tobacco control. For this, the National Tobacco Control Cell of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare started work on Health Development Surcharge Management Policy in early 2016. But the policy formulation has not been completed even though it has passed a long time. We demand for speeding up the policy formulation.’
At that time, representatives of the anti-tobacco organization including the Torun Nerittitto Bangladesh, Nabanita Nari Kallyan Sangstha were present.