Around 100 anti-tobacco activists, from all around the country, held a virtual human chain demanding imposition of specific tax on cigarettes and all other tobacco products.
Activists took popular social networking site Facebook to stage the virtual demonstration and place their demands at 12 pm on Wednesday, said a press release issued Voice of Intercreative Choice and Empowerment (VOICE).
Anti-tobacco advocate organisations Dhaka Ahsania Mission, VOICE, National Heart Foundation, Sastho Surokkha Foundation, Unnayan Samannay, DORP and Progga jointly arranged the program with the technical support from the 'Tobacco Free We'.
Prominent journalists, member of parliaments, economists, and physicians took part in the event.
During the virtual demonstration, the anti-tobacco organizations claimed that increasing the tax and price of tobacco encourage 11 lakh grown-ups to quit smoking and will help in the prevention of untimely deaths of 3 lac 90 thousand smokers and 4 lac youngsters in the long run.
It will also enable the government to earn additional revenue of Tk 3,400 crore, the release said
In this regard, Chairman of Shastho Surokkha Foundation and Bangladesh Parliamentary Forum for Health and Well Being, Professor Dr Habibe Millat said, "There are no alternatives to control tobacco for the betterment of public health. Our economy will get stronger once we deal with the tobacco hazards. It is important for us to achieve the goal of making Bangladesh tobacco free by 2040 as promised by our honorable prime minister. Imposing specific tax on tobacco will be an effective measure for that".
Non-government organization Unnayan Shamannay's Chairman and Ex-governor of BB Dr Atiur Rahman said that we must make tobacco products unavailable by imposing specific tax on them.
"We have to take necessary steps in the shortest time possible to make tobacco products unaffordable to the people with lower income. Only then we can achieve the goal of making Bangladesh tobacco free by 2040, a target set by our Prime minister" he said.
Additionally, increasing the price of bidi and smokeless tobacco by imposing specific tax will keep people of lower income group from smoking since they are usually the ones that suffer from the most health burden caused by tobacco, the organisations claimed