Dhaka, October 23: Expressing optimism, Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud on Wednesday said the country will be freed from smoking within 2040 as the government has taken different pragmatic steps to eliminate tobacco consumption.“I hope that the country will be freed from tobacco consumption within the timeframe of 2040. . . and the number of smokers are reducing day by day,” he said while addressing a meeting of anti-tobacco alliance at an auditorium of Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDUP) in the capital.
PROGGA (knowledge for Progress) and ATMA (Anti Tobacco Media Alliance) jointly organised the programme for unveiling the research findings ‘Tobacco Industry Interference Index: The FCTC Article 5.3 Implementation Report, Bangladesh 2019’ and providing ‘PROGGA Tobacco Control Journalism Award 2019’.
Former President of Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP, addressed the meeting as the guest with Dhaka University former vice chancellor Professor Dr AAMS Arefin Siddique in the chair.
Hasan said the number of smokers has decreased to a great extent in the last 10 years. “There are many laws in the country to control tobacco consumption. So, we should campaign more against the adverse effect of tobacco consumption,” he added.
The minister said he does not smoke as he promised to his father that he would not smoke in his entire life.
Hasan, also the publicity and publication secretary of Awami League, underscored the need for banning the import of e-cigarette considering its adverse impacts on health.
“Import of e-cigarette should be banned in our country….Social resistance should be built against importers of e-cigarette,” he said.
Urging the ministries concerned to take steps to ban e-cigarette, Hasan said, “India has banned e-cigarette in their country. We can also do the same.”
The minister said the use of e-cigarette should be controlled before it reaches to an alarming degree.
He said the smoking (above 18 years old) has declined to 35 percent because of the government’s measures and raise of social awareness. The smoking rate was around double a decade ago, he added.
Saber Hossain, in his speech, said, “To build a developed nation, health services must be ensured for all the citizens. The government is working to this end.”
Earlier, three journalists from print, online and electronic have been awarded for their best reports.
The journalists are SM Shariful Islam Suman of Banglanews24.com, Suhadha Afrin of the daily Prothom Alo and Mamun Abdullha of Somoy Television.
Dr Hasan Mahmud handed over crests, certificates and cheques among the awardees.
Dr Mary Assunta, Head of Global Research and Advocacy, GGTC Thammasat University, Thailand, senior journalist Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul and Md Ruhul
Quddus, Bangladesh Country Director of Global Health Advocacy Incubator, addressed the meeting as special guests.
PROGGA Head of Tobacco Control Md Hasab Shahriar and ATMA convenor Murtoza Haider litan presented the findings while ATMA coordinator Nadira Kiron conducted it. POGGA Executive Director ABM Jubair gave welcome speech.