50,000 die, 40,000 become disabled every year

May 21, 2009

Direct effect of tobacco
About 50,000 people die and 40,000 become disabled due to smoking and direct affect of tobacco every year in the country.
Some 12 lakh people suffer from eight kinds of various respiratory, brain and kidney-related diseases due to the use of tobacco every year, speaker yesterday said this while addressing a workshop on ‘Tobacco control law’ held at the civil surgeon office in the city.
The civil surgeon office in Dhaka and the WBB, a non- government organisation, jointly organised the workshop. The WBB is working along with the government for creating mass awareness against the tobacco through its 200 associate organisations all over the country.
Chairman and chief executive officer of Rural Association for Nutrition Improvement (RANI) Md Fazlul Hoque Khan moderated the workshop while civil surgeon of Dhaka Narendranath Dewri was in the chair.
The country has an anti-smoking and tobacco control act of 2005. The act should be amended to make it time-befitting as it has failed to control the smoking and various uses of tobacco in the country, speakers pointed out.
Even the cigarette and tobacco manufacturing companies are motivating farmers to cultivate tobacco and also frequently publishing colourful advertisements for their products violating the existing law. So, youths and adolescents are addicted to the smoking, they mentioned.
The existing law does not cover all the tobacco-related materials like hukka, jarda, gul, khoni and tobacco leaf. One- year imprisonment instead of three months and fine of Taka 10 lakh instead of Taka 1,000 should be incorporated in the law to punish advertisers of tobacco.
Moreover, the government is providing loans for cigarette companies to increase its revenue.
Tobacco is being cultivated on some 33,000 hectares of land, which is almost 0.33 per cent of the total cultivable land, and some 40,000 tonnes of tobacco is produced annually in the country.
On the other hand, some 20,300 million cigarettes and 1,08,000 million bidi sticks are being produced every year in the country.
Deputy civil Surgeon of Dhaka Dr Musfiqur Rahman, district education officer Khalid Mahmud and deputy director of Youth and Sports AKM Kaisar Ali, among others, addressed the seminar.

Courtesy of BSS, DHAKA

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