Ehsanul Haque Jasim
Although it is mandatory to insert graphic heath warning (GWH) on any tobacco item, most of the chewing tobacco companies, particularly jorda and gul factories, are not following the law properly.
According to the Smoking and Tobacco Products Usage (Control) Act, 2005, the use of graphic health warning messages on packets of all tobacco products is mandatory. But majority of the chewing tobacco companies had been marketing their products without inserting GWH on the packets of jorda and gul.
The anti-tobacco activists have been working for long to bring the chewing tobacco companies under law. At last, many of the companies came under the law partially. They began marketing of their products with pictorial heath warning on the packets.
Tobacco Control and Research Cell (TCRC) is one of the platforms working on the issue. The TCRC officials said they are monitoring the market. In recent times, they found some of chewing tobacco brands in the market with graphic heath warning.
Mohiuddin Rasel, a research assistant of the TCRC of Dhaka International University, recently collected pictures of some brands of smokeless tobacco products. In the pictures, it was seen that the chewing tobacco products were provided in the market with GHW.
According to the law, it is mandatory to insert graphic heath warning on 50 per cent areas of tobacco products’ packet. Although some cigarette companies are following it, most of the chewing tobacco factories are not doing the same properly.
However, many other companies are yet to introduce any pictorial warning on the packets of their products, showing zero per cent implementation of the tobacco control law. Many brands of jorda and gul are still now available in the markets that have no pictorial health warning, which is a direct violation of the law.
Farhana Zaman Liza, another research assistant of TCRC, on Sunday told Bangladesh Post that although chewing tobacco companies began marketing their products with pictorial heath warning, they are now following the law properly.
“The companies, which began marketing their products with pictorial heath warning, are still violating the rules. They are not inserting graphic heath warning on 50 per cent areas of their products’ packet,” she said.
She also said, “Although they are not following the rules properly, it is good news for us that the chewing tobacco companies began marketing their products with warning messages.”
Talking to Bangladesh Post on Sunday, Syed Mahbubul Alam Tahin, technical adviser to The Union, said that the government should introduce standard packet for ensuring proper implementation of the law.
The Smoking and Tobacco Products Usage (Control) Act 2015 making the use of GHW on packets of all tobacco products came into effect on March 19, 2016.