‘Battle of Minds’ violates Tobacco Control Act, VOICE alleges
The tobacco company that sponsored the event, is using policymakers while committing this crime
Voices for Interactive Choice & Empowerment (VOICE), a human rights organisation, has alleged that British American Tobacco Bangladesh (BATB) is conducting a death marketing campaign, leading youths into a smoke-trap by sponsoring events like Battle of Minds.
The grand finale of Battle of Minds 2020, the 17th edition of the skill development-based recruitment competition, was held 15 December in Dhaka.
According to a press release of VOICE, the program is in violation of section 5 of the Smoking and Tobacco Products Usage (Control) (Amendment) Act, 2013, as well as World Health Organisation's FCTC Article 5.3.
It also alleged that BATB is regrettably using law and policymakers in committing this violation.
Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of VOICE, said, "Tobacco companies are using different CSR initiatives to promote their organisations, which is a violation of the law. Therefore, we want our law and policymakers to take necessary steps to stop these promotional activities."
BATB's interference and cavalier attitude to the law go against the government's commitments to achieve SDGs, threatening public health, it added.
The tobacco company and its allies are violating Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's declaration to make Bangladesh tobacco-free by 2040 and its commitment to achieving SDGs by 2030.
Section 5.1 of the Smoking and Tobacco Products Usage (Control) Act bans all forms of sponsorship or awards for tobacco promotion or advertisements to inspire its consumption.
VOICE also alleged that BATB organises the annual event to entrap youths under the guise of so-called 'merit justification' and influence policymakers.