Bangladesh Anti-Tobacco Association (BATA) has demanded ban of illicit tobacco trade. Beside this BATA has also demanded to expand price of cigarette and bidi to minimum 35 BDT and 10 BDT per packet respectively. BATA, National Anti Tuberculosis Association of Bangladesh (NATAB) and Work for A Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust have jointly organized a press conference at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity to observe forthcoming World No Tobacco Day on 31st May 2015.
In that press conference speakers expressed the above mentioned demands. Mozaffor Hossain Poltu, senior vice-president of NATAB and noted social worker, chaired the press conference.
Saifuddin Ahmed, coordinator, BATA and Khayer Uddin Ahmed Mukul, acting secretary-general, NATAB, were the speakers and Ibnul Sayed Rana, Chairman, Nirapad Development Foundation, was the moderator of the press conference. Helal Ahmed, secretary general, Protyasha Anti Drug’s Club, presented the written paper.
Helal Ahmed mentioned some recommendations in his paper. Such as- bidi, cigarette, jarda, gul and other tobacco products’ price should be defined; white single and open tobacco leaf (sada pata) sell should be banned; all tobacco products should be taken under packet system; health warning should be in Bangla according to the law; illicit tobacco trade channel should be identified; illicit tobacco and tobacco products should be destroyed publicly and the news should be published in media; punishment of illicit traders should be ensured and the health surcharge upon tobacco should be utilized to establish Health Promotion Foundation following the pattern of Thailand and other countries.
Saifuddin Ahmed said the prices of daily necessities are increasing every year. Price of a banana is more than 4 BDT but a cigarette costs 1.5 BDT only. The low price of cigarette is attracting people towards it and that is harming public health. He added, 31st May is World No Tobacco Day.
The theme of 2015 is ‘Stop illicit trade of tobacco products’. BATA and its member organizations will organize rally, view exchange meeting in all 64 districts of the country like previous years.
Mozaffor Hossain Poltu said that, it is necessary to increase per packet price of cigarette and bidi to minimum 35 BDT and 10 BDT respectively and then to impose 70% tax upon tobacco and tobacco products. It will increase price of bidi and cigarette and that will discourage people to buy these. Besides these the price and tax of jarda, gul should be increased in such a manner that people loses interest to buy those.
Imposing surcharge upon tobacco and tobacco products is such an initiative by the government of Bangladesh that has been appreciated globally. Many steps of tobacco control have made Bangladesh role model in this sector. At present Bangladesh needs to take proper policy to ensure proper utilization of the money received from surcharge. Health Promotion Foundation is reasonable solution in this regard.
Speakers said that according to law without warnings written in Bangla, sell of cigarette is banned in Bangladesh. Even then cigarettes of other countries are available in here. What is the route of these illicit cigarettes? Illicit trades of cigarettes are conducted to avoid tax and money by illicit trade is used for illegal works and that is causing harm to our country. So it is high time to take severe step to ban illicit trade of cigarettes.