Tobacco using should ban during election campaign: Speakers

Professor Pran Gopal Datta received Anti Tobacco Award

Matiur Rahman Nahid :: Different kind of election is occurring from Local Government (Union/Upozila, Pouroshova/City Corporation) and National Level (Parliament election) under Election Commission. During this election campaign, teen-age child & youth are involved; we often see that they received free tobacco products (bidi, cigarette or chew tobacco) from candidate. So one month before the election, they get free tobacco products & habituated with this death-habit smoking & tobacco using. Habit with smoking or tobacco products then shift them into other drug habit. So, to ensure healthy generation, tobacco products should ban during election campaign.

Speakers demanded in a discussion on National No Tobacco Day 2013 & Anti tobacco Award 2012 handed over ceremony at 11 am at National Press Club meeting room. Bangladesh Anti Tobacco Alliance (BATA) organized this event with theme of ‘Know & Obey Tobacco Control Law’. Eminent civil society leader Syed Abul Moksud, Anti Tobacco Award 2012 recipient Professor Dr. Pran Gopal Datta; Vice Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Ishrat Chowdhury, Public health advisor of the International Union Against TB & Lung Disease (The Union) spoke as guest of honor. BATA coordinator Saifuddin Ahmed presided over this event, while Helal Ahmed, Secretary General of Pratysha Anti Drug Club delivers welcome speech and Rafiqul Islam Milon; Advisor of MANOBIK read the tribute letter of Professor Pran Gopla Datta. Meeting was moderated by Aminul Islam Sujon, Executive Editor of Swamaswar (anti tobacco newspaper).

Syed Abul Moksud share experience from his personal life that, my father died due to lung cancer. He quit smoking when his cancer founded, but it was too late. Everyone should be tobacco free for better health & beautiful life. He also told that, recently amended tobacco control law should be enforced strictly & should stop all violation including promotional campaign by Tobacco Company. If anyone violate tobacco control law they should be under punishment and it needs to monitor who is violating. BATA & it’s member organizations throughout the country could monitor tobacco control law implementation & violation situation for better enforcement. It also needs to provide power to local government & school teachers & college principals to ensure law implementation within their jurisdiction.

Professor Pran Gopal Datta told; tobacco is major cause of death worldwide & this death ratio could be prevented. Developed countries are controlling tobacco with strong law & increase tobacco taxes. To ensure addiction free next generation, mass media should be more active. After receiving Anti Tobacco Award 2012 (a gold medal, crest & certificate), Professor Pran Gopal Datta told that, I never work for any award or honor. Today how BATA honor me, I am obliged to be more active in future, its created more liability & responsibility.

BATA coordinator Saifuddin Ahmed demanded ban using of tobacco products during election campaign. He told, election commissions are responsible to ensure smoke-free environment during all election campaign. He also urged to all political parties to include anti tobacco section into the election manifesto. Ms. Ishrat Chowdhury told, tobacco companies doing illegal propaganda and trying to addict teen-age & youth. BATA and its member organization should be aware of violation by Tobacco Company. Whenever, anti tobacco activist will find any violation or illegal promotional campaign by Tobacco Company, it needs to report to administration for action against law violation.

At the end of this event, Syed Abul Moksud & Saifuddin Ahmed handed-over the gold medal, certificate to Professor Pran Gopal Datta for his tremendous contribution on tobacco control. All the participants of this event stand and congratulate with hands together.  However, before this discussion, BATA also organized promotional campaign for tobacco control with the theme of ‘Know & Obey tobacco control law’ in front of National Press Club. BATA and about 80 organizations representatives were participated.

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