Over 1.61 lakh people die annually due to tobacco-related diseases in the country.
Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque today said this while replying to a query brought by treasury bench lawmaker M Abdul Latif of Chattogram-11 during the question-answer session which was tabled at the Jatiya Sangsad here with Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair.
"More than 161,000 people die every year in the country due to tobacco-related diseases as per the factsheet of 2018 compiled by the South Asian regional office of the World Health Organization (WHO)," said the minister.
Tobacco-related diseases and deaths are now emerging as big challenges for the country, he said.
Various deadly diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, different lung-related diseases and diabetes are now becoming epidemic due to tobacco use, smoking and indirect smoking, according to WHO research.
To reduce the use of tobacco, the minister said the government should impose high taxes on tobacco and tobacco-made products.
Expressing concern over the use of e-cigarettes, Maleque said now this addictive tobacco product is available in the market and multinational companies are involved with the marketing of these products.
Over 32 countries, including India and Sri Lanka, have banned the e-cigarette totally, said the minister, adding "We have requested the Commerce Ministry to impose an embargo on e-cigarette imports.
The government has even taken initiative to revise the existing 'Smoking and Tobacco Products Usage (Control) Act, 2005' aiming to eliminate the weakness of the law, the minister pointed out.