In observance of the World Tobacco-free Day, the EC Bangladesh and the Dhaka Ahsania Mission jointly organized a Human Chain in front of the National Press Club on 4 June 2014. The theme of this year’s observance is: Impose increased tax on Tobacco – Reduce deaths and diseases.
According to WHO statistics, one every nine minutes, and 57000 people every year die of smoking and tobacco-related diseases in Bangladesh. If the current situation continues unabated, by 2030 the death toll will climb up to 8 million a year, claiming most of the deaths in the developing countries like Bangladesh. Increased taxation on Tobacco is therefore a must, demanded the organizers.
Speakers at the Rally said, due to minimum taxation on tobacco-related materials, the costs of Bidi, cigarettes and other tobacco items are negligible in Bangladesh. Research findings indicate, the more the rates of taxation on tobacco, the less are its users. There are no instances in the world where tobacco use could be lessened without increased taxation. Developed countries could limit the numbers of tobacco users through higher taxation. The organizers stressed on the need for community awareness and stricter implementation of government regulations. Pointing towards the mal-practices of deceiving the people, and alerting against the interests of the tobacco companies, the organizers demanded higher taxation on tobacco-related materials in the coming budget.
The Human Chain was attended among others by Deputy Director of Dhaka Ahsania Mission Iqbal Masud, the Programme Manager of Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids (CTFK)-Bangladesh Eva Naznin and Project Coordinator of EC-Bangladesh Emdadul Haque Bhuiyan. Moreover, members of different organisations were present in the human chain.