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Live talk show “Aggressive Advertising of Tobacco Products: Impact on Youth”

Bangladesh has to impose a specific tax to prevent the young from consuming tobacco and raise the fine for smoking in public by amending the Tobacco Control Act 2005, speakers said at a webinar on Sunday 18 April, 2021.

Bangladesh Anti-Tobacco Alliance (BATA) and Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust (WBB) organized the webinar titled “Aggressive Advertising of Tobacco Products: Impact on Youth.”

A provision has to be introduced for direct filing of cases in case of violation of the tobacco control law, the speakers added.

“Increasing awareness against mandatory, especially at universities and the mass level across the country may play a significant role,” said Farhana Zaman Liza, program manager of the Tobacco Control and Research Cell at the Dhaka International University. 

“Domestic and foreign tobacco companies have massive campaigns to encourage teenagers to use tobacco, in violation of existing laws,” she added.

Md Azhar Ali, assistant commissioner at Deputy Commissioner's Office in Satkhira, pointed out that lack of human resources and coordinated effort as a major hindrance to dealing with public smoking.

Syed Saiful Alam, media advocacy officer of WBB Trust, said that even amid the pandemic when all shops and stores closed, many tobacco companies are providing home delivery of cigarettes through social media pages.

“Characters in web series and on television are seen smoking cigarettes, which is just covert advertisements being placed by tobacco companies — this must be stopped,” he added.

Kazi Md Hasibul Haque, project officer of Aid Foundation, said in the name of corporate social responsibility (CSR), tobacco companies are indirectly promoting their business.

Under the existing law, it is not possible to punish tobacco companies. To protect the young, the Tobacco Control Act needs to be amended to bring the tobacco companies under control.

Md Abu Rayhan, project officer of WBB Trust, moderated the webinar.