Anti-tobacco activists opine at virtual conference task force must be active to enforce tobacco law. The webinar on tobacco law held on Saturday 2 May 2020. Anti-tobacco activists have expressed outrage that advertising and promotion activities of the tobacco companies are continuing during corona virus crisis.
They expressed their displeasure at a webinar titled ‘Implementation of Tobacco Control Act at Local Level’. The meeting was jointly organized by the Bangladesh Anti-Tobacco Alliance and the WBB Trust on Saturday 2 May 2020.
The speakers said that the government has been working tirelessly to formulate policies to control tobacco use. While these measures are promising, tobacco companies continue to aggressively violate the law in expanding the market for harmful products.
Specific information on tobacco company violations needs to be presented to the Local Administration and Tobacco Control Implementation Task Force Committees, as well as expedited tobacco control. This will give impetus to the implementation of the law and of Prime Minister's 'Tobacco Free Bangladesh'.
Coordinator (Joint Secretary) of National Tobacco Control Cell Khairul Alam Sheikh was guest at the meeting. Saifuddin Ahmed, coordinator of the Bangladesh Anti-Tobacco Alliance, and the union's technical adviser Advocate Syed Mahbubul Alam among others led the discussion.
Saifuddin Ahmed, coordinator of the Bangladesh Anti-Tobacco Alliance, said tobacco companies were becoming more aggressive than ever. Therefore, at the local level, other organizations outside the alliance, including the allied organizations, need to be more active. NTCC's specific guidance and support will be helpful in this regard.
Khairul Alam Sheikh, coordinator (joint secretary) of the National Tobacco Control Cell, said training of officials in charge of implementing tobacco control laws, organizing of task force committee meetings contentiously, guidance and assistance in conducting mobile courts, and anti-tobacco propaganda were being increased across the country. As a result, tobacco control has been strengthened at the local level. In addition to continuing these activities, NTCC is working with the Ministry of Information, Film Directors / Producers Association to stop smoking in dramas / movies. He urged the members of the anti-tobacco alliance to keep in touch with the local administration and cooperate with the NTCC from the field level.
Adv. Syed Mahbubul Alam Tahin, technical consultant of The Union said, task force committees could play an effective role in implementing tobacco control laws. How the tobacco company is violating the law should be presented to the task force committee in the form of a complaint. If we can remove advertisements from mass media, billboards, signboards, we will also be able to free the sales outlets from advertisements for tobacco products.
Programme Manager Syeda Ananya Rahman presented the report at the meeting conducted by Sharmin Akter, Project Officer, WBB Trust. Total 65 people from 46 different organizations covered 25 district of Bangladesh were participated in the webinar.
The meeting called upon the National Tobacco Control Cell to take initiatives to punish the companies violating the law by conducting mobile courts across the country on tobacco control, regularizing the meetings of the task force committee and reversing the decision of the Ministry of Industry to keep tobacco companies open during the coronavirus crisis.