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Health minister assures of amending tobacco control law

  • Published at 07:30 pm January 4th, 2021
Tobacco Zahid Maleque
Health Minister Zahid Maleque in a meeting with delegates from PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) and the Anti Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA) on January 4, 2021 Courtesy

Minister Zahid Maleque said his ministry is working to build a tobacco free Bangladesh

Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque on Monday assured of amending the tobacco control law aiming at reducing tobacco use in the country.

“With the existing loopholes in the current tobacco control law, achieving a tobacco free Bangladesh within 2040 as declared by the prime minister will be hampered," he said.

The health minister came up with the remark when delegates from PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) and the Anti Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA) met him on Monday, a PROGGA press release said.

During the meeting, Zahid Maleque said his ministry is working to implement the declaration of the prime minister to build a tobacco free Bangladesh by 2040.

In order to achieve the premier’s commitment, stringent regulations will be imposed gradually to reduce tobacco use, he said.

The health minister said once there was no use of graphic health warnings on packages of tobacco products; but it has already been introduced through an amendment.

“Moreover, previously people used to smoke in public places. It has also been incorporated under regulations through laws. The current law is being amended to make it more updated and time-fitting,” he said.

Zahid Maleque assured that the proposals, placed by PROGGA and ATMA, will be taken into account seriously during the process of amendment.

During the meeting, PROGGA and ATMA placed some proposals for amendment in the tobacco control law.

The proposals included removing the provision of “designated smoking zone” and banning smoking in all public places, work spaces, and public transports to ensure an absolute tobacco free environment; banning the display of tobacco products at points of sale; banning 'corporate social responsibility’ activities of tobacco companies; restricting the sale of single sticks and unpackaged smokeless tobacco and banning the sale and import of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products.

Journalist Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul, Convener of ATMA Mortuza Haidar Liton, Co-convener of ATMA Mizan Chowdhury, business In-Charge of Bangla Tribune Md Shafiqul Islam and head of tobacco control program from PROGGA Md Hasan Shahriar were present, among others.