A study conducted by the Dhaka Ahsania Mission recommends amending the Tobacco Control Act to ban the production, import-export, promotion, marketing and consumption of all emerging tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.
Many young people use e-cigarettes for style and the flavours. Many consider e-cigarettes help them quit smoking conventional cigarettes. Some perceive e-cigarettes to be less harmful to health compared to conventional cigarettes.
These issues have come up in the results of the study on the use of e-cigarettes conducted on students of two universities in Dhaka.
A press conference was organised at Abdus Salam Hall of the National Press Club on 4 October at 11 am to announce the results of the study which was conducted with the technical assistance of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.
The research found that when e-cigarettes were first smoked, most participants were not sure if it contained nicotine. According to the survey, participants were not aware of the potential health risks of e-cigarettes. Most of them believed that there was not enough scientific research on e-cigarettes that it harms health. Participants had mixed knowledge about nicotine. They were not sure about the difference between nicotine in e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes. Again, some of them thought that e-cigarettes contain less nicotine than conventional cigarettes.
The research also found that students first heard about e-cigarettes from social media, older siblings, friends, other family members, movies, shopping malls or gift shops. Most participants saw e-cigarette ads on social media, especially on Facebook and Instagram. Most students tried their first e-cigarette with friends.
Professor Dr Arup Ratan Chowdhury said, "About 50 countries, including India, Sri Lanka and Thailand, have banned the production, import or export of e-cigarettes, transportation, sales, marketing, stocking and all related advertisements. The use of e-cigarettes is increasing day by day in Bangladesh too. That is why now is the time to ban e-cigarettes by amending the existing tobacco control law for public health reasons."
Chief Guest Member of Parliament Prof Abdul Aziz said, "The use of tobacco products is having an adverse effect on health, the national economy and the environment. In order to control tobacco effectively, the Government of Bangladesh has taken various steps including enactment and implementation of tobacco control laws. In addition to taking steps to ban e-cigarettes by amending the existing tobacco control laws, all concerned must play a role in making it effective."
Iqbal Masud, Director, Health and WASH Sector, Dhaka Ahsania Mission presided over the conference where Mukhlesur Rahman, Assistant Director, Health Sector, Dhaka Ahsania Mission delivered a welcome speech. Professor Dr Abdul Aziz, Member of Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was the chief guest at the press conference. Md Mostafizur Rahman, Lead Policy Advisor, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and Professor Dr Arup Ratan Chowdhury, Founder, MANOS was the special guest. Dr Mohammad Hayatun Nabi, Senior Lecturer, Department of Public Health, North South University presented the findings of a study on e-cigarette use conducted on university students.