In Bangladesh, half of the total populations are young. Tobacco companies are launching aggressive promotion of tobacco products by violating tobacco control law to attract young generation in tobacco use. Although the government continued their efforts to implement the Tobacco Control Act, tobacco companies are violating the law and encouraging the people for consuming tobacco products. Potential youths and people of different ages become victims of their profit earning activities. Strict enforcement of law is necessary to ensure “Tobacco-free Bangladesh”.
Speakers opined this in a daylong “National Level Workshop on Implementation of Tobacco Control Law & TAPS Ban” held at Samson H. Chowdhury center of Dhaka Club Limited on 20 March 2019. The workshop was organized by Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust in collaboration with The Union.
In the inaugural session, Professor Pran Gopal Datta, Former Vice-Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University; Mozaffar Hossain Poltu, President of NATAB; Md. Shafiqul Islam, Head of Programs, Vital Strategies; Syed Mahbubul Alam, Technical Advisor of The Union graced as honorable guest.
In the closing session, Md. Khalilur Rahman, Coordinator of National Tobacco Control Cell; Abu Naser Khan, Chairman of Poribesh Banchao Andolon; Dr. Rumana Huq, Professor of Economics, Dhaka University; Syed Mahbubul Alam, Technical Advisor of The Union graced as honorable guest. Saifuddin Ahmed, Executive Director of Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust and Coordinator of Bangladesh Anti Tobacco Alliance presided in the inaugural and closing session.
In the workshop, the findings of the “Study on banning of tobacco advertisement, promotion and sponsorship” have been shared with the participants. The study conducted in the 6 places of the country and duration was September 2018 to February 2019. After surveying a total of 363 shops in the baseline, the study found that all the shops were displaying advertisements and promotions of tobacco products in various ways. For displaying the ads and selling the tobacco products, the vendors received gifts and rewards from the tobacco companies on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis, the study adds. After baseline survey the findings has been shared with the local task force committee urged to take necessary actions as per tobacco control law. Local anti-tobacco organizations also involve in conducting the survey. Local taskforce committee and anti-tobacco organizations taken some measures for awareness building and enforcement of TC law like miking in the area, face to face motivation, administrative order for removing ads from the shops, conducted mobile court etc. After that, an endline survey was conducted among 273 shops (remaining shops could not found in the conducting endline) and found that 32.50% shops do not displaying tobacco ads. In most of the places the rate of ad display came down to 55%; notably, in the Gouranadi area the rate was only 20%. The whole study conducted by following IAWER method. Tarana Ferdouse, Research Associate of ARK Foundation presented the study findings.
Syed Mahbubul Alam, Technical Advisor of The Union presented speech on TAPS ban provision of tobacco control law.
About 100 non-government organizations representative from in and outside Dhaka, taskforce members, health experts, anti tobacco activists and media participated in the daylong workshop.