Survey: number of smokers in Bangladesh decreases by 8%

The survey was conducted with assistance from the World Health Organization and the Center for Diseases Control

A research report found that the number of smokers in the country has declined by around 8% since 2009.

The research report – Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2017 – was delivered to Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Mohammed Nasim, in the ministry’s boardroom yesterday afternoon.

The survey was conducted with the assistance of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Diseases Control (CDC). The previous survey was conducted in 2009.

According to the report, the percentage of tobacco users in the country is 35.3%. About 18% of the population is made up of smokers, 20.6% use smokeless tobacco (SLT) and an as yet undetermined percentage uses both.

In 2009, the number of smokers in the country reached 43.3% of the population.

The report indicates that the average monthly expenditure per smoker for cigarettes is 1077.7 Tk, and for bidis, 341.9 Tk.

Over 85% of respondents said they believe tobacco use causes strokes, heart attacks or cancer.

65.8% of tobacco smokers and 57% of smokeless tobacco users who visited a health care center were advised to quit smoking.

The report also states that among respondents, 66.2% of current tobacco smokers and 51.3% of smokeless smokers are considering or planning to quit.

PROGGA, an NGO leading an anti-tobacco campaign, said the result is laudable and can be seen as progress towards realizing the Prime Minister’s vision of a tobacco-free Bangladesh by 2040.

He also said that although Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in reducing smoking, some weaknesses in laws and their implementation could halt progress.

He also pointed out that the absence of an effective tobacco taxation policy and the lack of adequate implementation of the graphic health alert (GHW) regulations have prevented the country from achieving the scale of progress it has made. wish.

Hasan Shahriar, coordinator of PROGGA, said that another worrying aspect is that the government is giving the possibility to the Japan Tobacco Group (JT) to invest in the tobacco sector in the name of the introduction of foreign direct investment (IDE ).

Multinational tobacco companies have seen the adoption of product diversification policies as well as aggressive marketing strategies to create monopolies in local markets. Young people, who make up 31% of the country’s total population, are drawn to these strategies and may hinder the attempt to fulfill the Prime Minister’s commitment to transform Bangladesh into a tobacco-free country by 2040, he said. he declares.

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