National Anti-Tobacco Platform and Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) jointly organized the seminar
Speakers at an anti-tobacco seminar underscored the importance of raising awareness and ensuring strict enforcement of the law to build a tobacco-free Bangladesh by 2040.
The National Anti-Tobacco Platform and Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) jointly organized the event in Dhaka on Sunday to mark World No Tobacco Day that falls on May 31.
PKSF's Tobacco Control Awards were also given out at the program, reports UNB.
Agriculture Minister Dr Md Abdur Razzaque said tobacco consumption is not on the decline, although all know about its adverse impact.
He said union or upazila parishad election candidates distribute cigarettes to young people to woo them.
Mentioning Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's goal of having a tobacco-free Bangladesh by 2040, the minister said: "I think we will be able to achieve the target much before that time if we can create awareness among people, enforce laws, and commercialize agricultural goods properly."
He said that although around Tk22,000 crore is earned as revenue from the tobacco sector, about Tk30,000 crore is lost by its bad impact in healthcare and more. "So, we have to take that into consideration."
Razzaque put emphasis on farming agricultural products instead of tobacco. "The domestic market should be expanded. Bangladesh is a country with a lot of potential. We can export a lot of agricultural goods if we can further modernize the sector."
PKSF Chairman, Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, also convener of the Anti-Tobacco Platform, presided over the function.
In his speech, Kholiquzzaman said young people are destroying themselves with tobacco. "So, we have to educate and train them. Otherwise, we cannot ensure development."
"The government should increase monitoring system on tobacco. Cigarette prices should be hiked further. We are ready to support the government to make a tobacco-free Bangladesh," he said.
Speaking on the occasion as a special guest, Brig Gen (retd) Abdul Malik urged all to come forward to control tobacco use, saying it is not possible for the government alone.
“If we work in a planned way and ensure the enforcement of laws, it’s possible to cut down tobacco consumption.”