Dhaka urged to tighten anti-tobacco measures

Updated: Feb 27, 2012, 09:43 AM IST

Dhaka: The Bangladeshi government has been urged to tighten tobacco control measures to prevent deaths and disabilities from related diseases.

Nearly 57,000 people die from tobacco use annually in Bangladesh, while 382,000 people suffer from various disabilities, the news portal bdnews24.com reported.

A seminar organised by the United Forum Against Tobacco, a platform of doctors and other professionals, here Saturday has called for "stricter" measures against tobacco use.

Brig. (retd) Abdul Malik, chairman of the forum, said: "Our opponents (tobacco companies) are very strong. But we should be persistent in the interest of public health."

The government is planning to amend the 2005 law to introduce more stringent measures.

Taifur Rahman, a member of the law amendment committee, said if the draft amendment is passed and implemented, it could help curb tobacco consumption "substantially".

MP Matiur Rahman said a "vested group" is active against raising tobacco tax. "Lower economic groups are worst affected because of cheaper prices of bidis (thin hand-rolled cigarettes)," he said.