Tobacco use on rise despite law | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, December 22, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, December 22, 2009

Tobacco use on rise despite law

Goes up to 43pc from 37pc in 2004, says WHO study

Use of tobacco among adults has increased to 43.3 percent this year than that of 37 percent in 2004 in spite of massive campaign and enactment of law, revealed Global Adult Tobacco Survey Bangladesh Report - 2009 yesterday.
World Health Organisation (WHO) conducted the study in association with the health and family welfare ministry with the technical support of US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The study was conducted on 11,200 households. It also found that tobacco consumption is higher among males than females and more prevalent in rural areas.
At a dissemination programme at Hotel Sheraton it was said that a total of 41.3 million people in the country are now in the habit of using tobacco -- either in the form of smoking or chewing.
Of them, 58 percent are male and 28.7 percent are female. The prevalence of tobacco use in rural areas is 45.1 percent and 38.1 percent in urban areas.
The study revealed that 45 percent, among adults, are exposed to second-hand smoke in public places and males are more exposed than females.
An estimated 1 percent of the national income in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) is spent on purchase of cigarettes and 0.4 percent on bidis, it says.
“Overall economic loss due to tobacco use is very high in fact,” said Health Minister Prof AFM Ruhal Haque while speaking at the launching ceremony of the report as a chief guest.
Use of tobacco is directly linked to health and it is responsible for different non-communicable diseases, he said adding that the previous report of the WHO in 2004 revealed that around 57,000 people die every year in the country due to the diseases related to tobacco.
However, the government is thinking of making it mandatory to print pictorial health warnings on the packets of bidi like cigarettes, he added.
The government recently includes the messages of harmful affects of tobacco in the school textbook curriculum to create awareness in the society, the government authorities said.
Among others, Prime Minister's Adviser Syed Modasser Ali, Health Secretary Sheikh Altaf Ali, Director General of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Prof Shah Monir Hossain, Additional Secretary of the ministry of Education Rajia Begum, WHO Country representative to Bangladesh Duangvadee Sungkhobol, Associate Director of CDC Atlanta Samira Asma were also present.
Imposing additional taxes on tobacco production, amendment to the Tobacco Control Act and its implementation, anti smoking media messages and pictorial health warnings on all tobacco products were recommended following the study.

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