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Strict enforcement of tobacco control law stressed

RAJSHAHI, Jan 9, 2017 (BSS)- Strict enforcement of the amended tobacco control law has become an urgent need for freeing the public places from smoking for the sake of making the public health free from various non-contagious diseases, said speakers at a discussion here yesterday.

They viewed that gross violation of the Tobacco Control Act continues in restricted areas including public places and transport especially railway stations and bus terminals threatening public health almost everywhere.

There is no alternative to freeing the transports and public places from smoking to protect the non-smokers from passive smoking. Frequent and random smoking in these places affects the non-smokers more than those of the direct smokers, they added.

Association for Community Development (ACD) organized the meeting titled "Strengthening Tobacco Control in Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions" held at the conference hall of Deputy Commissioner in the city. Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids (CTFK) and Bloomberg Philanthropies supported the meeting.

Deputy Director of Local Government Division Dr Dewan Shahriar Firoj addressed the meeting as the chief guest stressing the need for infusing dynamism into enforcement of the tobacco control law through mobile court operation.

He urged the field level administrative officials to perform their duties with utmost sincerity and honesty in this regard.

Upazila Nirbahi Officers Abdus Samad, Hamidul Islam, Alamgir Kabir, Selim Hossain and Zahid Newaj and Executive Magistrates Razibul Islam and Syeda Sadia Noor also spoke.

During his multimedia presentation, ACD Programme Coordinator said around 57,000 people die and nearly 12 lakh people become disabled every year in the country due to tobacco-related diseases.

He alleged that the tobacco companies are expanding their market promotional activities in the name of corporate social responsibilities, which must be resisted. Tactical marketing maneuvering by tobacco companies inducing youngsters as new smokers defying and bypassing restrictive law is advancing unabated, he added.

Dr Dewan Shahriar Firoj viewed the government has amended the law to make it more stringent because of growing tobacco use in the country. The main attraction of the landmark law is that it bans all sorts of tobacco advertisements at the point of sale and sponsorship of the industries. The law also bans the selling of cigarettes to those below 18.

Taking part in the open discussion, the participating executive magistrates unanimously said all concerned especially the retailers and other vendors concerned should abide by the law of tobacco control to protect the public health from bad effects of both smoke and smokeless tobacco products.