The government of Bangladesh has taken various types of breakthrough steps for tobacco control to strengthen the disease prevention system and to reduce premature death and illness. In the year 2014-15, government has imposed 1% 'Health Development Surcharge' on the sale value of all tobacco products produced and imported in Bangladesh. To ensure proper use of this money, it is very important to approve the ‘Surcharge Management Policy’ and adopt ‘National Tobacco Control Program’. Speakers opined this in a program organized by Bangladesh Anti-Tobacco Alliance (BATA) to observe National No Tobacco Day on 7 October 2017 at Conference lounge of National Press Club.
It noted that, Since 2011 BATA observed its foundation day 9 October as ‘National No Tobacco Day’. This year the theme of the day was “Adopt National Tobacco Control Program with the money earned from surcharge”. Every year BATA honored a person or organization who has significant contribution in tobacco control as well as overall public health development. This year, National Professor Brigadier (Rtd.) Abdul Malik, Founder and President of National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh have been honored with anti-tobacco award 2017. BATA Coordinator Saifuddin Ahmed presided over the program while Professor Dr. Pran Gopal Dutta was present as Chief Guest. Mst. Nasima Begum, Additional Secretary of Cabinet Division and Advocate Syed Mahbubul Alam, Technical Advisor of The Union was present as honorable guest. Helal Ahmed, Secretary General of Prottasha Anti-Drug Club gave welcome speech and Aminul Islam Bokul, Executive Director of AID Foundation presented keynote speech.
Speakers said, ‘There have been many positive developments in Bangladesh to prevent the harmful effects of tobacco and tobacco products. Though the rate of tax on tobacco products is low, but the step of imposing health development surcharge is appreciated in the global arena. In particular, many initiatives taken by Bangladesh for tobacco control are exemplary to the world. The initiative of proper use of the health development surcharge earned from tobacco products will fortify Bangladesh’s position in the world.’ They also added that government’s partnership in tobacco industry is conflicting for tobacco control program. So they urged to withdraw government’s share from tobacco company immediately.
In the program, representatives from various organizations including BATA member organizations, CSO, media was present.