Some 18 anti-tobacco organizations have backed the demands for increasing the supplementary duty on all types of tobacco products in the upcoming national budget for the FY2022-23.The demand was made at a solidarity rally held in front of the National Press Club on Sunday.Specific taxation, increase in government revenue and protection of public health have been the highlights of the campaign.The rally, with Helal Uddin Ahmed of Prottasha in the chair, was addressed, among others, by Nasir Uddin of Vital Strategy, Farhana Zaman Lizar of Tobacco Control Research Cell (TCRC), Khalil Ullah of NATAB, Shariful Islam of Dhaka Ahsania Mission and Dr. Farhana Rahman, Seema Das Shimu, Rubina Islam and, and Barrister Jewel Sarkar. Also read: Experts want THR in tobacco control plansThe speakers said that raising the price of tobacco products through increased taxes is an internationally pursued method to discourage tobacco use.But due to lack of effective taxation, tobacco products are becoming very cheap and readily available in Bangladesh.They observed that the existing tobacco tax system has not been able to play a fully supportive role in achieving the 'Tobacco Free Bangladesh' promised by the prime minister.They also pointed out that every year more than 1 lakh 61 thousand people die and 3 lakh 62 thousand people become disabled due to tobacco use in Bangladesh.In the 2017-18 financial year the economic loss (loss of medical expenses and productivity) of tobacco use was Tk 30,560 crore and the revenue loss was Tk 22,810 crore. The net loss is about Tk 8,000 crore. Also read: Stop interference of tobacco companies in tax process: speakers urge govtThe leaders of the anti-tobacco groups handed over a memorandum to the chairman of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) containing their demands.The organizations participating in the solidarity rally are: Bangladesh Center for Communication Program (BCCP), Aid Foundation, Bureau of Economic Research (Dhaka University), Dhaka Ahsania Mission, Development Activists of Society (DAS), Development Organisatio of Rural Poor, Gram Bangla Development Committee, Manas, National Anti-Tuberculosis Association of Bangladesh (NATAB), National Heart Foundation, Knowledge for Progress (Wisdom), Health Protection Foundation, Tobacco Control Research Cell (TCRC), Anti-Tobacco Women's Alliance, Development Coordination, Voice of Work for Better Bangladesh (VWBB Trust) and Prattasha Anti-Drug Organization.
Four journalists have received fellowship awards in anti-tobacco journalism from Dhaka Ahsania Mission. The names of the journalists – Masud Rumee (Kaler Kantho), Dolar Mehedi (71 TV), Jannatul Ferdous Panna (Amader Natun Somoy) and Md Akhtaruzzaman (Amader Orthoniti) – were announced at a virtual event Wednesday. Lead Policy Advisor of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Bangladesh Md Mostafizur Rahman presided over the programme. Also read: Speakers for amending Smoking and Tobacco Usage (Control) Act Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Md Mokbul Hossain was the chief guest and Zafar Wazed, director general of the Press Institute of Bangladesh, was a special guest at the ceremony. Also Read: National Budget: Progga, ATMA for hiking tobacco goods Also Read: Budget: Prices of tobacco products up, gold down
In a bid to ensure fully smoking-free environment, two anti-tobacco advocacy organisations –-PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) and Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA)— on Monday proposed that the ban on smoking be extended to all public places, workplaces and public transport, including abolishment of ‘designated smoking zones’ provided in public places and work places.