Bangladesh is one of the top tobacco consumer countries in the world. Lots of people irrespective of ages or sexes are used to tobacco consumption in both smoke and smokeless forms, causing the increasing outbreak and spread of non-communicable diseases in great numbers. Tobacco consumption causes diseases like human cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and so on. According to the World Health Organization, smoking is responsible for 30 per cent of heart disease deaths, 38 per cent of cancer deaths, 35 per cent of deaths due to lung disease, and 20 per cent of deaths for other respiratory diseases. Today is National No Tobacco Day, and we hope, through the celebration of the day across the country will prevail among the people a good sense in avoiding tobacco intake.
Tobacco contributes nothing to physical good, nor does it help the economy. In fact, tobacco has every bit of negativity within it which it leaves behind to make people suffer physically, psychologically and economically. Economists opine that more than twice the amount of government revenue generated from all tobacco products is spent in the health sector for the treatment of tobacco-related diseases. Trees are arbitrarily felled to process tobacco products causing irreparable damage to the environment. In addition, children and women are involved into tobacco cultivation and processing. During harvesting of tobacco, these children cannot go to school and are consequently deprived of education. Last year, Health Minister Mohammed Nasim, at a press conference, revealed that the country has to spend Tk 5,000 crore every year for the treatment of tobacco related diseases, premature deaths and lameness while the income from this sector is only Tk 2,400 crore. As a result, the neat loss of the government amounts to Tk 2,600 crore. So, tobacco control is important in the context of Bangladesh.
According to a survey conducted by the World Health Organization in 2014, Bangladesh is one of the three countries, followed by Nepal and Myanmar, where cigarettes are available at the lowest price. Also, the current tax structure for the tobacco sector in Bangladesh is very complex and the percentage of tax is lower compared to that of most other countries, which constitute a good reason for booming tobacco business in the country. The government is to prove its good intention in discouraging and controlling tobacco production and business by imposing a higher tax percentage. For this of course, political commitment is very urgent. Our young boys and girls nowadays very much tend to tobacco intake. We need to discourage them by creating awareness about millions of negative impacts of tobacco. On this occasion of No Tobacco Day, we should commit to create a Bangladesh free from tobacco of any forms.