Somoy TV has been telecasted a special report today on 7 July, 2014 over the intimidation of tobacco industries to finalize the tobacco control Rules. Since the story is telecasted in Bangla, we have translated it below for international readers.
Please browse the link to see the original report:
A hard struggle is going on between Health and Law Ministries over the time-frame of pictorial warning introduction on cigarette packets. The Health Ministry proposed that the pictorial health warnings should be made compulsory by 9 months and on the other side the Law Ministry demands 18 months after the Rules has been passed.
Besides, experts related with the Rules formulation said that the amended tobacco control law of 2013 cannot bring any desired result even after one year of passing as the Rules regarding the law have not passed yet.
About 40 countries have made it mandatory to use pictorial warning on tobacco products’ packets. The revised anti-tobacco law proposed to use 50 percent space of the tobacco packets for pictorial warnings but the proposal has not been implemented so far. The Health Ministry had sent the draft Rules to the Law Ministry for vetting with the recommendation to use the pictorial warnings within nine months after passing the Rules.
However, the Law Ministry, after having a meeting with the tobacco company representatives, returned the Rules to the Health Ministry with another proposal to implement pictorial warning within 18 months.
Anti-tobacco representatives alleged that such meeting with tobacco companies is illegal and violation of the international treaty. Mahbubul Alam – a member of Rules formulation committee said that the international guideline does not allow holding such single meeting with the tobacco companies. Pictorial warning is not possible until the Rules are passed, and therefore, the Rules are essential.
The Health Minister, Mohammad Nasim is on the view that there is nothing wrong about consultation with the tobacco companies over deadline. He said, “Such big corporations pay a large sum of tax to the government. The business is not banned in the other countries and also not in Bangladesh. As they are some organizations, they may also have something to say. So, I don’t think that meeting with them is illegal. But we have to take measures through dialogue along with considering public health”.
The draft Rules has again been sent on June 19, 2014 at the Law Ministry for vetting, said relevant sources.