CONFERENCE PROCEEDING
The influence of tobacco companies, delay in overall tobacco control program
 
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1
Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust, Dhaka, Bangladesh
2
National Tobacco Control Cell, Health Services Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Dhaka, Bangladesh
3
The Union, Dhaka, Bangladesh
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Syeda Anonna Rahman   

Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Publication date: 2021-09-02
 
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2021;19(Suppl 1):A67
 
KEYWORDS
ABSTRACT
Introduction:
As a signatory country of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), and ratified this legally binding international public health treaty, Bangladesh is obligated to follow its Articles. Among others, Article 5.3 is key measure to protect public health from Tobacco Industries (TI) and their collaborators. On the other hand, government of Bangladesh owned about 10% share at the British American Tobacco Bangladesh (BATB) and 5 top level government officials are sitting Board of Directors of BATB. So, TI interference is massive which derail tobacco control initiatives in Bangladesh.

Objectives:
Work for a Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust aimed at educating, awaking and sensitizing Anti-Tobacco activists, media, academia, researchers and policy makers. Therefore, WBB Trust chronologically document and expose TI interferences in Bangladesh.

Methods:
WBB Trust collected and scanned public documents from 2005 to 2018 from newspapers, TI’s annual reports and websites available in Bangladesh. Information regarding direct or indirect influences of TI’s were scrutinized and selected. Additionally, key informant interviews were taken from experts working on tobacco control in Bangladesh, civil societies and government.

Results:
Some Ministries such as Finance (including National Board of Revenue), Agriculture, Industries, Commerce and Law were known with TI interferences. But this study found TI interferences are beyond imagination. Almost all sectors of the government directly or indirectly, knowingly or unknowingly influenced by the TI’s. At least 20 Ministries are hugely influenced by TIs during last 13 years. Particularly, passage of tobacco control law and Rules and its amendment, introducing graphical health warnings were also delayed.

Conclusion(s):
The industry interference is out of imagination. So, we need to track and monitor every issue regularly. Besides, we need to sensitize policy makers and make them aware of the issues. The most important fact is finalization of FCTC guideline and emphasis the fact in national law.

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