POST TIME: 1 December, 2017 00:00 00 AM
Enforcement of tobacco control law

Enforcement of tobacco control law

That the country would be tobacco free by the year 2040 as revealed by a source close to the government is an encouraging piece of news but the way tobacco consumption is going on in the country does not give any positive sign that it can be achieved. According to a report of this newspaper on Wednesday, speakers at a training session in Rajshahi on Monday unequivocally called for combating the existing violation of the amended tobacco control law in public transports for the sake of making the public health free from various non-contagious diseases caused by tobacco uses.  

In the past it was said time and again that action would be taken against the companies for not publishing health hazards cautions with pictures on the packets of tobacco products in line with the 'Smoking and Tobacco Products (Control) Act'. But the disturbing reality is that it did not happen. The government has to spend more money in the health sector than it earns from the tobacco companies as revenue.

Smoking in public places has become rampant in recent times and it is showing no sign of abetting. The smokers do not know what a fatal blow they are inflicting on their health and the health of others around them through this lethal habit. There is no enforcement of the law banning smoking in public places. Taking advantage of it many people are smoking in public places exposing themselves and the others to serious health hazards.  

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), if current trends of tobacco consumption continue, by the year 2030, tobacco use could cause 8 million deaths annually in the world, with more than 80 percent of these deaths in low-and middle-income countries including Bangladesh. Bangladesh is more vulnerable to the mortality because here cigarettes are cheaper than other countries.

The government has imposed taxes on the production of tobacco; it may discourage tobacco farming to some extent. Government and NGOs initiatives to campaign against the detrimental impact of tobacco consumption are not encouraging. The media is also not playing its due role in this regard. Smokers can be alerted by the effective implementation of the law on the mandatory display of health warnings on the 50 percent display space of all tobacco products.

Apart from ban on smoking on certain places, advertising, promotion and sponsorship related to tobacco will have to be prohibited in all print and electronic media. More stern measures should be taken to discourage tobacco consumption further in the interest of public health.