Tobacco Control Law needs to be amended to achieve SDG: Professor Dr. A A M S Arefis Siddique
Strong measures need to be taken immediately for reducing tobacco use in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as a tobacco free Bangladesh by 2040, as declared by the Prime Minister. A strong tobacco control law and its effective implementations are highly required in this regard. However, due to some loopholes in the existing tobacco control law, it fails to reduce tobacco use efficiently. Today, delegates from PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress), an anti-tobacco research and advocacy organization, had a discussion meeting on the necessity of amending tobacco control law and its way forward with Professor Dr. A A M S Arefin Siddique, Chairman of Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) and former Vice-Chancellor of Dhaka University. He said at the meeting that, “I trust that the current tobacco control law requires some amendment along with some additions to save the people from consuming such a toxic product like tobacco as well as to achieve SDG 3.
Moreover, during these hard times of COVID-19 outbreak, I acknowledge that it is high time to swiftly take in to consideration the proposals of amendment of relevant laws raised by PROGGA and other tobacco control organizations in order to keep the public health and environment safe and sound.” He further underscored that “just as the intended targets of any law depend on its stringent implementation, likewise, we need to go forward in rendering timely amendment of the law and its firm implementation.” At the discussion meeting, PROGGA underscored some proposals of amendment in tobacco control law which included 1. Remove the exemptions in the smoking ban for restaurants and public transport; 2. Ban the display of tobacco products at points of sale; 3. Ban tobacco company ‘corporate social responsibility’ activities; 4. Ban the sale of single sticks and unpackaged smokeless tobacco; 5. Ban the sale and import of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products; 6. Allow for stricter rules on packaging including increases to the size of health warnings; etc.