A delegation of Bangladesh Anti-Tobacco Alliance (BATA) and other anti-tobacco organizations met with Honorable Speaker of National Parliament Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury on 5 July 2018. During the meeting, the team discussed with her about the issues regarding overall tobacco control.
The delegation requested to Honorable Speaker to recommend for effective taxation on tobacco products and formulating a strong tobacco tax policy and to support in developing Honorable Prime Minister’s ‘Tobacco-free Bangladesh’. They also discussed that government is working on tobacco control and has set a target. In this circumstances, need to take initiative to withdraw government’s share from BAT as it is a matter of conflict of interest.
Honorable Speaker said, “Government is working with specific action plans for tobacco control. The new budget also has its reflection. Non-governmental organizations need to be more active to support government's work on this issue. Specially, public awareness has to increase in the prevention of e-smoking.” She also said, “The present government is committed to ensuring healthcare for all. In addition, to achieve the SDG goal, implementation of Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) has been set as a target.”She urged to all to work together to achieve that goal. She expressed the importance of Parliament Member’s involvement in anti-tobacco campaign as they can play a vital in increasing awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco in their respective areas.
Among others, Saifuddin Ahmed, Coordinator of Bangladesh Anti-tobacco Alliance; Professor Dr. Rumana Huq, Focul Person of Bureau of Economic Research at Dhaka University; Syed Mahbubul Alam, Technical Advisor of The Union; Journalist Nikhil Bahdra, Shakila Parveen, Editor of Parliament Newsbd; Syeda Anonna Rahman, Program Manager and Syead Saiful Alam, Media Advocacy Officer of WBB Trust was present in the meeting.