Saturday, July 4, 2020 | ePaper

Health hazards due to tobacco

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Life Desk  :
A total of 161,000 people annually die in Bangladesh due to diseases like heart attack and cancer caused for use of tobacco products - a major factor for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) cause deaths or become life-long partners of tobacco users, thus affecting families economically and hindering sustainable development of the country's economy.
Country's leading health experts and physicians made the observations at a Research Findings Dissemination Conference on Tobacco Control in Bangladesh, held at Lakeshore Hotel in Dhaka on Monday.
Prof Dr Abul Kalam Azad, Director General, Directorate General of Health Services spoke at the opening session of the conference as the chief guest.
The daylong conference was organized to unveil and disseminate the findings of nine research projects - five conducted by student researchers of different public and private universities and four by experienced researchers in different academic institutions and organizations. Besides, 10 selected research studies were presented in the conference through poster presentation.
National Professor Dr Brig. (Rtd.) Abdul Malik, President, National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh, and Advisor, Bangladesh Tobacco Control Research chaired the opening session of the conference organized by Bangladesh Center for Communication Programs (BCCP) and Bangladesh Tobacco Control Research Network (BTCRN) in collaboration with the Institute for Global Tobacco Control based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH), Baltimore, USA.
Expressing his concerns over unsatisfactory progress and failure for reducing the use of tobacco uses, Prof, Azad urged all health workers for strengthening their drive to check increase of the habit of smocking and uses of other tobacco products.
He also stressed on the need for conducting more researches for identifying the root causes of spread of tobacco uses and thus help the government to undertake effective measures to check that bad practice. He, however, appreciated the contributions of BCCP for cooperating the government, especially the health ministry and the directorate to strengthen its move to check uses of tobacco products, especially by the youngers.
"Your researches and moves are helping the government through creating awareness among the people and let them know about the deadly NCDs, mostly caused by tobacco," he said.
The 4th Health, Nutrition and Population Strategic Investment Plan  and the Health Strategy for the 7th Five Year Plan incorporated NCD control as an important agenda, he mentioned.
 "Children are badly affected by smocking and many of the tobacco industry people are taking cunning strategies to promote uses of tobacco by alluring younger people to use those," he expressed concern alerting all concerned for refraining from making such an ill practice as the government is strengthening its move to make the country free from tobacco by 2040.
Seeking cooperation from the private sectors and non-government organizations like BCCP, he said the government cannot alone achieve such a mammoth target of eradicating uses of tobacco.
Professor DrBrig. (Rtd.) Abdul Malik said, the country should eliminate NCDs in order to attain economic prosperity and SDGs and reducing tobacco uses is a must for achieving that milestone.
"Tobacco industry is very powerful and they take very strategic steps to promote the use of their products Besides, users become addicted to tobacco," he mentioned urging the parents and other to protect youths so that they do not use tobacco.
"Researches help a lot in identifying the actual situation and adverse impact of uses of tobacco," he said mentioning that the government should prepare a roadmap and take a national programme to bring effective results in this area.
Prof DrSanya Tahmina, Additional Director General (Planning and Development), Directorate General of Health Services, Dr Rajendra Bohara, Team Leader (IVD), World Health Organization, Bangladesh Country Office and DrJoanna Cohen, Director, Institute for Global Tobacco Control, Maryland, USA spoke as guests of honour.
DrZeenat Sultana, Program Director, BCCP delivered opening remarks.
At the closing session, Rina Parveen, Additional Secretary (PH and WH), Health Services Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare spoke as the chief guest while Prof DrMd. Iqbal Kabir, Director (Research and Planning), Directorate General of Health Services and DrJoanna Cohen and Prof Shah Monir Hossain, Senior Advisor, BTCRN spoke as guests of honor. Prof DrNawzia Yasmin, President, BTCRN chaired the session.
The major research projects include: 1) Shifting of Marketing Paradigm of Tobacco Industry in Bangladesh: Challenges to the Tobacco Control Policy, 2) Enforcement of Tobacco Control Law Regarding Smoke-Free Public Place and Public Transport: A case of Bangladesh Railways Jurisdiction, 3) Ban on Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship in Bangladesh: Investigating Compliance Level and Implementation Challenges, 4) Smoke-free Housing Policy for Multi-Unit Housing Complexes: Evidence from Divisional Cities of Bangladesh, 5) Tobacco Industry Branding Strategies and Its Influence on Young Adults, and 6) Tobacco Related Content on New Media and its Exposure among University Students in Bangladesh.
Dr Joanna Cohen, Prof Dr Golam Mohiuddin Faruque, Project Director and Joint General Secretary, Bangladesh Cancer Society, Ashish Pandey, Deputy Director, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Prof Dr AFM Mafizul Islam, Vice Chancellor of Southeast University, Shafiqul Islam, Head of Programs, Vital Strategies- Bangladesh , DrSyed Mahfuzul Huq, National Professional Officer, WHO Bangladesh Office, Prof ATM Nurul Amin, Chairperson, Department of Economics and Social Sciences, BRAC University, Aminul Islam Sujon, Program Officer, NTCC and Dr Nawzia Yasmin, Head, Department of Public Health, State University of Bangladesh, and President, Bangladesh Tobacco Control Research Network attended the sessions.

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