World No-Tobacco Day 2008 Observed in Bangladesh  

 

Call for enforcement of the Tobacco Control Law and  a total ban on all sorts of promotional activities by the  tobacco manufacturing  industry

 The “World No-Tobacco Day” (WNTD) was observed all over Bangladesh, as elsewhere in the world, on May 31, 2008. This year, the Government of Bangladesh has celebrated the WNTD through  a  month- long chain of interesting activities in collaboration with NGOs. WHO is providing technical support and a seed grant to celebrate the occasion.

 This year's WNTD promotes the theme of Tobacco-free Youth to protect young people from exposure to tobacco. The tobacco industry spends tens of millions of dollars worldwide each year to effectively market its products in as many ways as possible. In response to this threat to young people, this year's World No-Tobacco Day campaign focuses to ban all forms of direct and indirect tobacco advertising, including promotion of tobacco products and sponsorship, by the tobacco industry, of any events or activities. On the other hand, it is now being expected that  young people themselves would take it as a challenge to  raise their voice and organize counter-marketing activities to deglamorise tobacco use.

                                                                                                                                  Mr A. K. M. Zafar Ullah Khan, Hono’ble Secretary Ministry of Health & Family Welfare addressing an advocacy meeting with the Water Transport  Owners Association as the chief guest at Dhaka

The Bangladesh Government, NGOs and private organizations, with the support of WHO, organized month long activities ending on 30 June which included: Declaration of smoke-free educational institutes like universities, colleges,  schools, youth and teachers’ training centres; public transportation; district and Upazila taskforce mobilization; building awareness for alternative crops among tobacco farmers; news paper messaging; TV talk shows, school health shows on TV channels, specially-designed radio programmes to tell people about the harmful health effects of smoking; musical concerts; rallies; declaration of smoke free hospitals; tobacco free sports; training of scout leaders for anti-tobacco campaign; anti- tobacco youth festivals; training of teachers by Ministry of Education and training of youth leaders by the Ministry of Youth & Sports, among others. District and Upazila taskforce committees will mobilize mobile court drive for Tobacco Control law enforcement and to realize penalties from people smoking in “no-smoking” designated areas.

 

Several colourful rallies and awareness meetings took place on the day in many districts including the Capital city, Dhaka. On the day, one big advocacy meeting was held at National Press Club with the civil society organized by ADHUNIK (NGO) and supported by WHO. Another big gathering was held at National Museum Auditorium focusing on  the theme and participated by the students of Eden Girls’ College, organised by MANAS (NGO) . Other events included round-table discussion by Bangladesh Anti Tobacco Alliance, anti-tobacco musical concerts, a bicycle rally, a signature campaign, advocacy meetings, and declaration of smoke-free places. All these events were supported by WHO and the BGI fund.

 

The day was observed with a call for enforcing the Tobacco Control law and strengthening anti-smoking campaign to prevent tobacco-induced diseases. In his speech at National Press Club and National Museum Auditorium,  where WHO experts informed the audience that tobacco happens to be  the second-highest leading risk factor for global deaths. Currently, it  is known to cause  five million deaths worldwide. One in ten adults die from health conditions caused by tobacco consumption worldwide. If current smoking patterns continue unabated, then it is possible that some 10 million deaths may occur each year by the year 2020. Most of these deaths occur in developing countries like Bangladesh.

The World Health Organization (WHO) country office in Bangladesh has supported the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth and Sports, NGOs, Bangladesh Scouts and other private organizations in their efforts to contain smoking, both active and passive.


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