The speakers at the Dhaka Conference on Tobacco or Health 2020 (DCTOH 2020) on Saturday called for amending the tobacco control law and urged the government to impose specific taxes on tobacco in light of various research findings.
The first edition of the conference was held at the Liberation War Museum and attended by 250 representatives of more than 120 organisations across the country, read a press release.
Some 48 research papers were presented at the conference where 16 demands were made to the government in the Dhaka Tobacco Control Declaration to reduce the usage of tobacco by the year 2040.
Speakers at the conference urged for the draft National Tobacco Control Policy to be finalised, adopted and approved. They also urged the formulation of a national tax policy to reduce the usage of tobacco through tax hikes, among other demands.
The plenary session of the conference was chaired by Public Health Specialist Mohammad Ruhul Quddus where Abul Kalam Azad, former Chief Secretary to the Prime Minister's Office and Special Envoy of Climate Vulnerable Forum, presented the key article.
Iqbal Masood, director of the Health Department of Dhaka Ahsania Mission and Saifuddin Ahmed, coordinator of the Bangladesh Anti-Tobacco Alliance were the keynote speakers at the event.
The conference recommended: prohibiting tobacco companies from campaigning at educational institutions, increasing health warnings with pictures, prohibiting retail sales, confirming production date on the product packets, and ensuring standard packaging of smokeless tobacco products among several other suggestions.
Kamal Uddin, former ambassador and convener of the conference, chaired its opening session. The live and virtual attendees included Kelly Henning, director of the public health department at Bloomberg Philanthropic and Zillur Rahman Chowdhury, coordinator of the National Tobacco Control Cell and joint secretary of Health Services Department.
The research sessions were attended by: Professor Dr Sohail Reza Chowdhury, departmental head (Research and Epidemiology) of the National Heart Foundation; Professor Dr Golam Mohiuddin Farooq, project director (Tobacco Control) of the Bangladesh Cancer Society; Israt Chowdhury, additional secretary of Ministry of Home Affairs; and many others.