Overcoming stumbling blocks of tobacco control in Bangladesh
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Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Bangladesh, National Tobacco Control Cell, Bangladesh
The Union South-East Asia, Tobacco Control, Bangladesh
Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, Government of Bangladesh, Bangladesh
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A649
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Background and challenges to implementation:
Tobacco leads to grave detriments on health. Bangladesh is among top ten countries of the world where tobacco use is most prevalent. It is facing tobacco epidemic, having dual burden of high production and consumption. It is a cumbersome task to curb the epidemic in a country like us. Having an excellent tobacco control law, lack of execution, makes it utterly insufficient. The deep concern is exposure to tobacco causing public health disaster for citizens, who have a universal right to governmental protection.

Intervention or response:
National Tobacco Control Cell (NTCC) of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) worked with NGOs, civil society, religious and community leaders in concerted effort for awareness on hazards of tobacco, Tobacco Control law and implementation of law by awareness campaign, engagement of print, electronic and social media, use of IEC materials and advocacy. Repeated directions sent from MOHFW to field administrations to activate taskforces for tobacco control. Various government agencies including Executive Magistrates, NGO and other stakeholders were trained on law and mobile court drives were operated across the country for exemplary punitive action. To decrease secondhand smoke, mangers of workplace, public place and transports were made accountable. Tax raised on all tobacco products. Banks gave soft loans for tobacco farmers to switchover to other crops. Tobacco advertisement, promotion and sponsorship were banned.

Results and lessons learnt:
Exemplary penalty made people law abiding. Mobile court drives received tremendous support from the people from all walks of life and mass media which contributed in creating awareness. Coverage of clean-indoor-air law is increased. Tobacco control coalition developed from grass root to highest level. Increasing tax on tobacco found effective to discourage smoking initiation, moreover, stopped illicit trade. Advocacy through different media including internet found very useful.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
More novel approaches are needed like tobacco cessation. Emphasis required for monitoring the activities of taskforces.