According to a report by Tbs News on January 2, 15 anti-smoking organizations have issued a joint statement urging candidates for the 12th parliamentary elections in Bangladesh to refrain from distributing and using various tobacco products during the ongoing election campaign, in order to protect public health.
The statement warned that the continued use of tobacco products during the election process would have a devastating impact on public mental health, especially among young people.
According to reports, the tobacco usage rate in Bangladesh has reached an alarming level, with 37.8 million adults using tobacco products. Additionally, 38.4 million people are exposed to second-hand smoke in workplaces, public transport, and other public places. An estimated 161,000 deaths occur each year, linked to tobacco consumption.
Bangladesh is one of the earliest countries to sign the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) by the World Health Organization. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh has pledged to establish a smoke-free nation by 2040. In order to fulfill this commitment, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has initiated the process of revising tobacco laws.
The anti-smoking organization mentioned in their statement that if all candidates participating in the ongoing 12th National Parliament election can pledge to refrain from distributing and using tobacco products, it would be a significant milestone. This decision would also be a crucial step towards achieving a smoke-free Bangladesh.