The government yesterday launched a six-week media campaign warning people of the deadly harms of smoking.
The 30-second TV spot -- “AtmaJiggasa (what damage will this cigarette or bidi do?)” -- will be aired about 5,000 times on Bangladesh Television and other TV channels.
Habibur Rahman Khan, additional secretary to the health services division of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, read out Health Minister Zahid Malik's written speech at the ministry's conference room.
As per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2017, tobacco consumption in Bangladesh is declining gradually. It came down from 43.3 percent in 2009 to 35.3 percent in 2017. The relative reduction rate shows that tobacco consumption has reduced by 18.5 percent in eight years.
The minister said tobacco harms environment, public health and economy at all stages of cultivation, processing and consumption. He hoped the campaign will help bring change in people's mindset.
He said smoking is a gateway to drug abuse and said youths are being driven to drugs through it.
The campaign is organised by the National Tobacco Control Cell, Non-Communicable Disease Control Programme of the Directorate General of Health Services, and Vital Strategies, an international NGO, which funded the TV spot.
Shafiqul Islam, head of programmes at Vital Strategies, urged for yearlong awareness campaigns on mass media about harms of tobacco and laws to control its use.
It will accelerate implementation of acts and reduce tendency of smoking among people. For that, it needs to be incorporated into the government's long-term plan under the health development surcharge, he said.