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Tobacco is a visible threat to the environment and public health

The global tobacco supply chain is having a devastating effect on climate change. Carbon dioxide, methane, and other toxic chemicals and air pollutants emitted by smoking pollute the atmosphere. Tobacco is the leading cause of death of 1 lakh 61 thousand people in Bangladesh every year, and more than 12 lakh people are affected by various incurable diseases. The indiscriminate use and supply of smokeless tobacco in plastic bags or pouches has become one of the major concerns for environmental degradation in several countries. At 11:00 a.m. today, the Save the Environment Movement (POBA) and the Bangladesh Anti-Tobacco Alliance (BATA) jointly exchanged views on tobacco control to protect the environment and tackle the food crisis. Holds meetings. Methun Baidya, Project Officer, WBB Trust, presented the keynote address at the event, chaired by Abu Naser Khan, Chairman, Save the Environment Movement (POBA), and conducted by Syeda Anonna Rahman, Departmental Head  Health Rights division, WBB Trust. Honorable guests at the meeting were National Tobacco Control Cell (NTCC) Coordinator (Additional Secretary) Hossain Ali Khondakar, Assistant Commissioner and Executive Magistrate (Dhaka DC Office) Jubayer Hossain, The Union Technical Adviser Ed. Syed Mahbubul Alam, CTFK Grand Manager Abdus Salam, and Bangladesh Anti-Tobacco Alliance Coordinator Saifuddin Ahmed.

Hossain Ali Khandaker said tobacco cultivation needs to be controlled to ensure food security and soil fertility. He directed the government and non-governmental organizations to get involved in tobacco control. He called upon the district administration to conduct regular mobile courts to implement tobacco control laws.

Distinguished guests present at the meeting said that it was necessary to ban the investment of foreign tobacco companies which are destroying the environment in Bangladesh. Besides, the government should impose an additional tax and environmental development surcharge on tobacco cultivation. In addition to controlling the supply chain, it is essential to finalize the tobacco cultivation policy to implement the conviction of the Hon'ble Prime Minister. Finally, the speakers called for the formulation of a Code of Conduct in the light of FCTC 5.3.

In the open discussion session, the speakers said that as a result of tobacco cultivation, it is not possible to produce any crop in the vicinity, creating a food crisis. The various social activities carried out by the tobacco company are merely the tactics of the tobacco company. Legislation should be enacted to prevent deforestation in tobacco processing through monitoring. Metals, plastics, and batteries used in the production of e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco are increasing waste which is harmful to the environment and nature. The speakers further said that tobacco has become a major obstacle in implementing SDGs. Finally, they demanded that the government withdraw its existing shares in the tobacco company.

Also present at the meeting were: Aid Foundation, DAS, Stop, Manas, IDF, Ubinig, Cosmos, Hill, Trinamool Development Agency, Keraniganj Human Resources Development Society, Naboneeta Mahila Kalyan Samiti, Lalu Panchayat, Shield, Active Social Welfare Society, SUS and officials from several organizations, including the Institute of Wellbeing, and media representatives.