90.5% schools and playgrounds were found selling tobacco products within its 100 meter radius, and 81.87% of the point of sales displayed tobacco products at children’s eye level (approximately 1 meter)
Government of Bangladesh has been in pursuit to prevent tobacco usage. It is the first to sign Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2003, ratified it in 2004; accordingly enacted Smoking & Tobacco Products Usage (Control) Act in 2005 and formulated rules in 2015. The rules ban all types of Tobacco Advertising Promotions and Sponsorships (section 5) and sale of tobacco products to and by minors (sections 6-Ka). However, the real scenario is very different. The tobacco industry has been in quest to continue the tobacco product promotion in order to influence children, adolescents and the youth through clever strategies. Dhaka Ahsania Mission has recently conducted a study entitled “Big Tobacco Tiny Target in Bangladesh” with the technical support of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK) to see the promotional strategies that the tobacco industry adopted especially for the vendors within 100 yards of educational institutions and playgrounds. The study findings are that 90.5% schools and playgrounds were found selling tobacco products within its 100 meter radius, and 81.87% of the point of sales displayed tobacco products at children’s eye level (approximately 1 meter) and 64.19% of the tobacco products are being displayed beside candy, sweets or toys; Tobacco products are being advertised and displayed in 82.17% of the point of sales selling tobacco products around the selected schools and playgrounds. DAM has organized a dissemination of the study findings on 23 April 2019, Tuesday at 10.30 at the Tofazzol Hossain Manik Mia Hall (previous VIP Lounge) of the National Press Club. The findings were presented by Md. Mukhlesur Rahman, Assistant Director & Project Coordinator, Health Sector of DAM. This report recommends the following: (1) Government should ban sales of tobacco products within a 100 meter radius of schools and playgrounds and amend the existing law in this regard; (2) Government should ban sales of single stick of tobacco products and needs to incorporate in the law; (3) Local Govt. authorities should license tobacco vendors and provide that compliance with Bangladesh’s tobacco control law and any prohibition on the sale of single stick of tobacco products are a condition of the license; (4) Government should improve enforcement of tobacco control law, especially the ban on point of sale advertising; and (5) Government should make clear that the display of tobacco products at the point of sale is banned and communicate it effectively to vendors and retailers.
Honorable Deputy Minister, Ministry of Education, Mr. Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury, MP. was present at the occasion as Chief Guest. He declared that his ministry will take necessary measures for banning tobacco sale within a 100 meters radius of schools and playground. He also said that he will monitor the previous actions of his ministry. As the special guest Roxana Kader, Additional Secretary, Local Government Division, Professor Dr. Syed Md. Golam Faruk, Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education Institute; Md Khalilur Rahman, Coordinator, National Tobacco Control Cell; Md Benajir Ahmmed, Dhaka District Education Officer; Abdul Kayum Talukder, Vice President of Bangladesh Shop Owners Association and Mr Abdus Salam Miah, Grants Manager, Campaign for Tobacco-free kids (CTFK) were present at the occasion. The event was chaired by Dr M. Ehsanur Rahman, Executive Director, Dhaka Ahsania Mission.