Members of Parliament on Monday requested Health Minister Zahid Malek to amend the existing tobacco control laws in the country.
Bangladesh Parliamentary Forum for Health and Wellbeing, a parliamentary forum, submitted a letter signed by 152 MPs seeking the amendment to the Health Minister on Monday.
Chairman of the Forum, Prof Dr Md Habibe Millat, MP, handed over the letter to the Health Minister at Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban, said a press release.
Health Minister Zahid Malek lauded the MPs' initiative and said that all possible cooperation and necessary steps will be taken to implement their demand.
In the letter signed by 152 MPs, the importance of amending the law on tobacco control and the damage caused due to it was highlighted to the Health Minister.
Around 35.3 percent people in Bangladesh use tobacco products and 1 lakh 61 thousand people die every year due to use of tobacco, the letter stated. The Prime Minister has declared to eliminate tobacco products from the country 2040, it added.
Prof Dr Md Habibe Millat, MP said "To implement Prime Minister's declaration, we have handed over the letter with recommendations of 152 MPs demanding immediate amendment of the Tobacco Control Act for protection of public health"
The letter recommended inclusion of six issues in the amended law following the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
The issues include banning smoking in all public places, including the abolition of smoking areas, banning the display of tobacco products at sales points, banning the social responsibility programme or CSR of tobacco companies, banning the sale of retail cigarettes or bidis, banning the import and sale of C-cigarettes and tobacco.
"Bangladesh Parliamentary Forum for Health and Wellbeing" and The Parliamentary Forum has been working for a long time to formulate policy-making and public opinion on tobacco control.
Besides, e-cigarettes have been banned and the current budget has come up with suggestions for additional revenue generation through reasonable tax increases on tobacco.