Smoking and using tobacco products are extremely harmful for the human body. The Bangladesh Government has enacted the Tobacco control law in 2005 which was amended in 2013 and formulated rules in 2015. In the South Asian Speakers Summit 2016 Honorable Prime Minister of Bangladesh has vowed in her speech to make Bangladesh a tobacco free country by 2040. NGO Affairs Bureau (NGOAB) Director General Md. Rashedul Islam said, “NGOAB would take step to materialize the Prime Ministers public commitment. Today, as on 9 September, 2020, Wednesday at 3:00 pm in NGO Affairs Bureau in Agargaon conference room on Implementation of the Tobacco Control Law and its future actions to make Bangladesh a completely tobacco free country by 2040” said the NGO Affairs Bureau DG in the view-exchange meeting. In the jointly organized meeting of Dhaka Ahsania Mission and NGOAB Bureau the program was chaired by Dr. Md. Helal Uddin, Director, NGO Affairs Bureau and the key-note speech was given by Assistant Director and Project Coordinator of Tobacco Control Project of Health Sector, DAM Md. Mukhlesur Rahman.
Md. Mukhlesur Rahman said, “Bangladesh Government has taken different steps to ensure a good maintenance of public health among which tobacco control is vital. Different organizations are working together with the government to ensure tobacco control law. However, the tobacco manufacturing companies through the use of different kinds of ill-tactics are obstructing the tobacco control activities. The cigarette producing companies are going near the educational institutions and using non-governmental organizations to attract young people to become smokers to gain ample profit for the company without complying the tobacco control law. Moreover, Philip Morris International formed Foundation for A Smoke Free World (FSFW) and FSFW granted financial assistance to BRAC, Child Site Foundation (CFS) and Telenor Health. Later BRAC and Telenor Health have returned the grants as they came to know that the Foundation for Smoke Free World is the organization of Philip Morris International.
World Health Organization Executive Committee has given recognition of the conflict of interest of the tobacco trade and public health and any NGOs of member countries under World Health Organisation are not involved and will not be involved with the private tobacco producing companies in the future as well. However, it is perilous to take donation in the name of tobacco control from the tobacco producing companies and Phillip Morris Internationals funded Foundation For a Smoke Free Worlds activities becomes a great barrier in tobacco control. Every non-governmental organization has to take registration/certificate from NGO Affairs Bureau and the organizations must have to take approval from the organization. Henceforth, the NGOAB has a significant role to play to prevent the ill-tactics of the tobacco manufacturing companies and control and to make Bangladesh a tobacco free country”.
Director, Health and Wash Sector Iqbal Masud in his welcome speech said, NGOAB in 2014 has instructed its own office and other non-governmental organizations to keep it completely smoke free. NGOAB also directed to all NGOs for hanging the no smoking signage in their all offices. He appreciated about all initiatives of NGOAB regarding tobacco control and hope NGOAB will take appropriate measures to prevent all ill tactics of tobacco industry”.
The Chair of the program, Dr. Md. Helal Uddin said, NGOAB will take necessary action for tobacco control and tobacco control issue will be included in all meetings/programs organized by NGOAB for enhancing awareness among the NGO workers”.
Among others, Directors of NGO Affairs Bureau, Deputy Directors, Assistant Directors, Assignment Officer, higher-up officials of the organization, Program Officer of NTCC, Mr. Aminul Islam Sujon, Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids Grants Manager Abdus Salam Miah and Program Officer (Advocacy and Research) Ataur Rahman Masud, and representatives from different anti-tobacco organizations participated in the meeting.