The health ministry has issued a directive to all civil surgeons and district commissioners to form task forces to properly implement the amended tobacco law at district and upazila levels.
Nearly 44% of the country’s population use tobacco products, and about 63% of working people are indirect victims of smoking at the workplaces, health officials told reporters Wednesday. Thus, the tougher anti-smoking act, which was recently passed in parliament, should be implemented strictly to save millions of people, they said.
“It is only possible to make the anti-tobacco movement a success through creating social awareness, with participation of people from all walks of life,” Health Secretary MM Niazuddin told a press conference at the secretariat yesterday ahead of the World Tobacco Free Day tomorrow.
State Minister for Health Mujibur Rahman Fakir said the use of tobacco products was increasing rapidly in Bangladesh.
He said the government amended the Smoking and Use of Tobacco Control Law 2005 to include chewing tobacco products. It also increased fines for smoking in public to Tk300 from Tk50, and changed the definition of public places.
Prof Khondokar M Sifayetullah, DG of health services, said the use of tobacco has become a social disease.