Widespread use of tobacco products has increased the prevalence of non-communicable diseases in the country, posing a serious threat to the public health.
To reduce this risk, tobacco use should be brought under control by amending the existing tobacco control laws and formulating public health friendly policies at the national level, and ensuring proper implementation of these initiatives.
Speakers said this at a national seminar styled "Engaging Parliamentarians in Controlling Non-Communicable Diseases" held at the Hotel Westin in the capital on Sunday, said a media statement.
National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh and Shastho Surokkha Foundation jointly organised the seminar.
Jatiya Sangsad Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury joined the seminar as the chief guest through a virtual platform, while Professor Dr Habibe Millat, also a lawmaker, was in the chair.
Lawmakers Dr AFM Ruhal Haque, Begum Meher Afroz Chumki, Kazi Nabil Ahmed, Shirin Akhter, Pir Fazlur Rahman, Dr Syeda Zakia Noor, Aroma Dutta, Umme Kulsum Smriti, Nahid Izahar Khan, Aparajita Haque, Shirin Akhtar, Nahim Razzak, Syeda Rubina Akhter Mira and Adiba Anjum Mita, were present at the event.
Dr Shirin Sharmin said, "We have to emphasise the prevention of non-communicable diseases and, in this respect, necessary laws and policies have to be formulated."
"To protect public health, smoking should be banned in public transports and public places. Strong tobacco control laws could play a role in reducing tobacco use," she opined.
Professor Brigadier (retd) Abdul Malik, president of the National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh National; Gabriela Cuevas Barron, president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union; Naoki Ito, Japanese Ambassador in Dhaka; Dr Bardan Jung Rana, WHO Representative; Professor Harun-ur-Rashid, president of the Kidney Foundation of Bangladesh; and Prof Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam, Director General of DGHS joined the event virtually.
Dr AT Nizam Uddin Ahmed, executive director of the Shastho Surokkha Foundation, delivered welcome speech at the seminar.
Professor Sohel Reza Choudhury, head of the Department of Epidemiology and Research at the National Heart Foundation Hospital and Research Institute, presented the keynote paper.
He highlighted the adverse impact of non-communicable diseases on public health and economy of the country.
He stressed the need for public health-friendly laws and policies to curb the growing risk of non-communicable diseases in the country.
Currently, non-communicable diseases like heart disease and cancer are responsible for 67% of the total deaths in Bangladesh. Tobacco alone is responsible for 19% of all deaths, Professor Sohel Reza stated.
Professor Dr Habibe Millat said 22% of deaths in the country is pre-matured and non-communicable diseases like heart disease, cancer and kidney problems are responsible for this.