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Importance of Implementing the Law to Stop Advertising of Tobacco Products

On 25th August, 2022 a discussion meeting was jointly organized by National Tobacco Control Cell (NTCC), WBB Trust and Bangladesh Anti-Tobacco Alliance (BATA) titled ‘Importance of implementing the law to stop Advertising of Tobacco Products’ at the conference room of Health Economics Unit, Bangladesh. The speakers said, "According to the assurance of the Prime Minister, the government has taken successive steps to achieve the goal of making a tobacco-free Bangladesh by 2040 and to enact and implement laws to improve public health." But despite the government's positive initiatives to control tobacco, the companies continue to spread propaganda. As a result children, adolescents and young adults are attracted to smoking and tobacco-related harm and death are increasing. To protect the health of future generations, tobacco companies that violate the law must be strictly controlled. The meeting was jointly organized by the under the Health Department. The event was presided over by Hossain Ali Khondoker (Coordinator, Additional Secretary, NTCC).

Adv. Syed Mahbubul Alam (TA, The Union) presented the keynote at the meeting. Mostafizur Rahman (Lead Policy Advisor, CTFK) and Md. Fahimul Islam (Joint Secretary, Consultant, The Union) were present as panelists in the meeting. Md. Farhadur Reza (Program Officer, NTCC) conducted the program.

Syed Mahbubul Alam said that despite the prohibition of advertising of all types of tobacco products according to the Tobacco Control Act, several studies have revealed the issue of displaying various flashy advertisements of this product in public. After the government took the initiative to amend the Tobacco Control Act, the companies are running various false campaigns. As a result of selling single packs of cigarettes, consumers do not see the health warnings mentioned on the product packaging. Besides, it is important to stop the retail sale of cigarettes to reduce the consumption of cigarettes and to keep the young generation away from smoking. But companies are demanding their share of the law reform process. But the companies that produce harmful products cannot be part of the government.

Md. Mostafizur Rahman said that it is important to prevent the company's interference in creating a tobacco-free Bangladesh. For this, the company should be brought under penalty. In this regard, the representatives of the law enforcement agencies need to be more active as well as the participation of people from all walks of life.

Hossain Ali Khandkar said in the president's speech that besides removing the common people's misconceptions about the economic damage caused by tobacco, it is necessary to strengthen the tobacco control law. Everyone must take a strong stand against tobacco.

In addition Shahabuddin Kabir (ASP, Dhaka), Dr. Yasmin Nahar (Deputy Civil Surgeon, Dhaka), Papia Akhtar (Senior Assistant Commissioner, Dhaka), Shamma Labiba Arnob (AC Land, Dhaka), Dr. Mustafizur Rahman (Deputy Program Manager, NCDC, Department of Health) and number of officials of Bangladesh Anti-Tobacco Alliance participated in the free discussion session.