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Global Adult Tobacco Survey Bangladesh Report 2009

Tobacco is on the rise despite legislation

The report has revealed that the use of tobacco among adults has increased from 37% in 2004 to 43.3% in 2009, despite a massive campaign and enactment of law.The World Health Organisation (WHO) conducted the study in association with the Health and Family Welfare Ministry with technical support from US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The study was conducted on 11,200 households. It found that tobacco consumption is higher among males than females and more prevalent in the rural areas. At a dissemination programme at Hotel Sheraton, it was said that a total of 41.3 million people in the country are now in the habit of using tobacco by means of smoking or chewing. Of these people, 58% are male and 28.7% are female. The prevalence of tobacco use in rural areas is 45.1% and 38.1% in urban areas.

The study revealed that 45% of the adult population are exposed to second-hand smoke in public places and males are more exposed than females. An estimated 1% percent of the national income in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), is spent on the purchase of cigarettes and 0.4% percent on bidis. “Overall economic loss due to tobacco use is very high,” said Health Minister Prof. AFM Ruhal Haque, while speaking at the launching ceremony of the report, as a chief guest.

Use of tobacco is directly linked to health and it is responsible for different non-communicable diseases he said, adding that the previous report of the WHO in 2004, revealed that around 57,000 people died every year in the country due to diseases related to tobacco. He mentioned that the government was thinking of making it mandatory to print pictorial health warnings on packets of bidi, like cigarettes.

The government recently included the message regarding the harmful effects of tobacco in the school textbook curriculum, to create more awareness among locals.

Among others, the Prime Minister’s Adviser, Syed Modasser Ali; Health Secretary, Sheikh Altaf Ali; Director General of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Prof. Shah Monir Hossain; Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Rajia Begum; WHO Country representative to Bangladesh, Duangvadee Sungkhobol and Associate Director of CDC Atlanta, Samira Asma, were also present at the launching ceremony.

The following measures were recommended following the study: imposing additional taxes on tobacco production; amendment to the Tobacco Control Act and its implementation; anti-smoking media messages and pictorial health warnings on all tobacco products.

Iqbal Masud (Co-ordinator Dhaka Ahsania Mission-AMIC)
Cell: 880 01714-088968

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