To attain the goal of building a tobacco-free country by 2040 as committed by the prime minister, further effective tobacco taxation and revised and more effective tobacco control act are necessary prerequisites, said health experts and economists.
The number of tobacco product users will fall significantly if the proposed tax structure is implemented, said speakers at a pre-budget discussion session organised by non-government think tank Unnayan Shamannay.
The experts also urged the authorities concerned to cancel production of new tobacco products and provision of smoking zones at the restaurants.
Speakers at the programme said in the areas where tobacco is being cultivated, farmers need to be adequately incentivised so that they opt to cultivate alternative crops.
Besides, e-cigarettes need to be banned and the establishment of no new tobacco factories should be stopped, said the experts.
Lawmakers, public health experts, economists, researchers and media professionals participated in this discussion session titled "Pre-Budget Discussion on Effective Tobacco Taxation".
Freedom Fighter Dr Arup Ratan Chowdhury, a professor at Birdem, Dr Khondoker Golam Moazzem, research director at the Centre for Policy Dialogue, Dr Taiabur Rahman, dean of School of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Independent University, Bangladesh, Md Mustafizur Rahman lead policy advisor at CTFK Bangladesh, and Dr Tania Haque, professor of Women and Gender Studies at Dhaka University, were panel discussants at the programme.
Lawmakers present at the discussion session were – RAM Ubaidul Muktadir, (Brahmanbaria 3); Md Monwar Hossain Chowhdury (Gaibandha 4); Umme Fatema Nazma Begum (Women Seat 12); Shamima Akhter Kaham (Women Seat 21); Habiba Rahman Khan (Women Seat 17); and Badruddoza Md Farhad Hossain (Brahmanbaria 1).
In the open discussion session participants urged the lawmakers to raise the issued related to tobacco taxation in parliament.
A video message from Professor Dr Atiur Rahman, chairperson of Unnayan Shamannay and a former governor of Bangladesh Bank, was broadcasted at the beginning of the session.