Twenty anti-tobacco organisations yesterday urged the government to temporarily ban the sale of cigarettes during the coronavirus pandemic.
In a press release they demanded the withdrawal of a directive on cigarette sale and manufacturing which was issued by Ministry of Industries (MoI) recently.
"Two multinational tobacco companies have been allowed to continue cigarette manufacturing, marketing and purchasing tobacco leaves amid the worsening pandemic situation," said the press release. They claimed that this decision will undoubtedly create frustration among the public.
Anti-tobacco organisations said, after World Health Organization (WHO) expressed concern that smokers are likely to be more vulnerable to Covid-19, South Africa imposed ban on the sale of cigarettes and alcohol. In the Philippines, one local government has temporarily banned cigarette sales.
"In Bangladesh, 37.8 million adults use tobacco and 41 million people fall victim to secondhand smoke in their own homes. They are all currently at grave risk of severe 2coronavirus infection," said the organisation.
The press release was sent by Progga in association with Bangladesh Cancer Society, BCCP, ACD, YPSA, Aid Foundation, Bangladesh Anti-Tobacco Alliance, BNTTP, BITA, Grambangla Unnayan Committee, NATAB, Prattashya, TCRC, National Heart Foundation, Dhaka Ahsania Mission, UFAT, TABINAJ, Voice, WBB Trust, and Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA).