State Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Ministry Mashiur Rahman Ranga suggested halting the sale of Cigarettes within three kms off educational institutions apparently in a bid to discourage students from smoking.
Students of schools and colleges are easily addicted to smoking due to easy availability of Cigarettes near their institution. Halting the sale of Cigarettes may prevent them from acquiring the bad habit, he said, calling for taking up necessary steps in this regard. The minister came up with the remarks while addressing a discussion in the capital today (Tuesday), marking the ‘World No Tobacco Day’, which will be observed across the world including in Bangladesh tomorrow (Wednesday). Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM) in association with Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK), Dhaka North City Corporation and Dhaka South City Corporation held the discussion at DAM’s Dhanmondi office in the capital.
The minister, who attended the programme as the chief guest, also called for taking up comprehensive steps, including raising massive awareness, making joint efforts and imposing higher tax for tobacco control. Shah Mohammad Alamgir, director general of Press Institute of Bangladesh (PIB), attended as the special guest at the programme.
Brigadier General Sheikh Salahuddin, chief health officer of Dhaka South City Corporation, Dr. Mahfuzur Rahman Bhuiyan, grants manager of CTFK, Md. Mukhlesur Rahman, assistant director of DAM, among others, spoke at the programme with Kazi Rafiqul Alam, president of DAM, in the chair. The speakers stressed on raising awareness involving all concerned, including the mass media, for controlling tobacco in the greater interest of the country.
Terming tobacco as the main hindrance to our development, they said the use of tobacco products is hampering our economic development and food security. At present, about 43 percent of our people are using tobacco products in one way or another. The use of such products (both smoke and smokeless forms) is creating a serious health and economic problem in the country, they said.
While presenting the keynote paper, Iqbal Masud, head of health sector of DAM, mentioned the use of tobacco products as one of the causes of our preventable death. Citing statistics of Institute for Health Matrix and Evaluation 2013, Iqbal Masud said, “One lakh people die of the diseases, caused by the use of tobacco products, in the country annually. Double the amount of money, which is spent for treating patients affected due to the use of tobacco products, has to be spent compared to the money earned as revenue from the tobacco sector”.
The price of tobacco products is less in the Bangladesh than that of other countries in the world, said Iqbal Masud, adding that about three percent of our GDP is being spoiled due to use of tobacco products annually. It is a big obstacle to our development, he said.