Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud on Wednesday said the government is working to build a tobacco free country by 2040.
"We've already taken many initiatives to build a tobacco free country. The government wants to work with everyone. The rate of tobacco product consumption came down to 35 percent from 40 percent. We'll hopefully achieve our goal in the estimated time," he said at 'PROGGA Tobacco Control Journalism Award 2019' at Cirdap auditorium in the city.
The minister also spoke about banning e-cigarettes, saying their use is gaining traction.
"We've to ban its import as India did," he said.
Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP, said the ministers concerned talk against tobacco at many programmes but do not say anything in Parliament.
"I'm with you in anti-tobacco activities," he said. "The media has to come forward to build a tobacco free country."
Progga has been giving the award since 2011.
This year's winners are Shuhada Afreen of Prothom Alo, Mamun Abdullah of Somoy TV and Sharif Sumon of Banglanews24.com.
A research report on tobacco, released at the event, said the progress in the implementation of Article 5.3 is in no way satisfactory. It noted that Bangladesh is among the worst three countries that face highest level of tobacco industry interference, in a long list of 33 countries as shown in Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2019.
This information and many more were brought to light as the research findings of 'Tobacco Industry Interference Index: The FCTC Article 5.3 Implementation Report, Bangladesh 2019' was unveiled here.
PROGGA has been releasing the Tobacco Industry Interference Index, the first report of its kind in Bangladesh, since 2018 with a view to assessing how the government was responding to the tobacco industry's tactics by using the FCTC Article 5.3 Guidelines and what preventive measures it has taken to tackle such interference.
A big score suggests a higher level of interference. Bangladesh Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2019 shows a score of 77, which was 78 in 2018.
The preparation of report was assisted by Global Centre for Good Governance in Tobacco Control (GGTC); Thammasat University, Thailand; Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products (STOP); and Institute of Global Tobacco Control (IGTC); Johns Hopkins University, USA.
Dhaka University's former vice-chancellor prof Arefin Siddique, Md Hasan Shahriar, project coordinator of Progga and others also spoke there.