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Social watchdogs for strict enforcement of tobacco control law

Social watchdogs at a press conference here today unequivocally called for strict enforcement of the Tobacco Control Act (TCA) for protecting thousands of non-smokers from passive smoking. The use of smoking and non-smoking tobacco products is posing a real threat to human civilisation because those are killing millions of people in the globe annually. Lady’s Organization for Social Welfare (LOFS), a non-government human rights organization, hosted the press conference titled “Violation of Tobacco Control Law: Tyranny of Cigarette Companies” at its office supported by Aid Foundation and BATA.With LOFS Executive Director Sahanaz Parveen in the chair, the press conference was addressed, among others, by Senior Project Officer of Aid Foundation Abu Nasser Anik, LOFS Executive Member Sekender Ali and Programme Manager Muhammad Salahuddin.They told the journalists that the government has amended the law to make it more stringent because of growing tobacco use in the country. As per the law, the selling of cigarettes to those below 18 has been banned. Mobile courts should be conducted against all sorts of violations of the law and the field administration should supplement Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s announcement of freeing the country from tobacco use by 2040.Reading out the written speech Abu Nasser Anik put forward eight-point recommendations for strict enforcement of the TCA.He said around 57,000 people are dying in Bangladesh annually consuming tobacco products and 1.2 million others are suffering from lung cancer, cerebra-vascular, coronary artery, chronic obstructive pulmonary and other tobacco-attributable diseases. Imposing restrictions on smoking in public places and transports is very important for protecting many non-smokers from various non-communicable diseases caused by smoking. Frequent smoking in the restricted places affects the non-smokers more than the direct smokers. So, there should be a strong civil society to fight malpractice. Use of tobacco items causes many non-communicable diseases like cancers, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, tuberculosis and chronic respiratory disorder. Nasser Anik expressed grave concern over gross violation of tobacco control law everywhere in the society and urged the authorities to take punitive measures to resist the violation. Some tobacco companies are expanding their market through promotional activities in the name of corporate social responsibilities, which must be stopped, he added.

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