Modifications in Tobacco Control Law in Bangladesh

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Health Secretary MM Neazuddin said recently that within two months the government in Bangladesh will elaborate rules to introduce the tobacco control law that was recently passed. The tobacco control law passed in Parliament on April 29 and it introduces not only raised penalties for its violation, but also health warnings on cigarettes packages.

According to Neazuddin, a comprehensive project was underway to firmly implement the modified law. He added that they would not let anyone play a hoax on it and abuse any gap.

Neazuddin participated in a training program on tobacco control leadership which was organized by Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.The training took place in  the coastal resort town of Cox’s Bazar, USA, and lasted five days. Neazuddin was opening with his speach. The training brought together police and fire service officials,  journalists, NGOs, policymakers, activists together. Its main goal was to develop understanding of the need for tobacco control in the region.

According to the new law, for smoking in public places a penalty Tk 300 should be applied. Tobacco industry will have to use pictorial health warning covering half of the space on both sides of cigarette package.

Besides this, the revised 2005 tobacco control law prohibits direct or indirect tobacco advertising and promotion along with activities under the image of Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR).

The law recognizes smokeless products like ‘gul’ and ‘zarda’ as tobacco products and together with this extends the definition of public places and is going to include restaurants, parks and private organisations. However, there must be established  designated smoking areas in public places so that they could correspond to WHO’s Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC).

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