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Civil Aviation, Tourism Ministry move for Tobacco-free BD
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Civil Aviation, Tourism Ministry move for Tobacco-free BD

Dhaka, Jan 19 – According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2017, even in the provision of tobacco control law, almost 50% of people are being exposed to secondhand smoking in public places. In order to rescue the people from the harms of secondhand smoking, Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, along with technical supports from National Tobacco Control Cell, Dhaka Ahsania Mission, and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, has formulated Tobacco-Free Hospitality Sector Strategy paper. Deputy-Secretary (Biman), MoCAT and focal person for tobacco control activities, Ms Sabera Akter said on this regard that even though the law can help in protecting the health of general population, the strategy paper has been formulated to influence the hotels, motels and other tourism institutions under MoCAT to work with the same agenda.
Restaurants, hotels, motels, guest houses, resorts, tourist spots, bars, picnic spots, theme parks, party centres, theatres, cruise boats and all other transports and specific sites set by government/local government will be brought as the service providers included in the strategy paper.
The strategy paper also states that all institutions will display adequate visual no-smoking signage according to the Smoking and Tobacco (Control) Law 2005. The institutions or authorities will also prohibit having ashtrays and lighters available; will have the provision for filing complaints and taking actions against them; will evaluate the compliance to the law while issuing license/permits to the service providing institutions; and will formulate a monitoring team which will report to the appropriate authority about any discrepancies about abiding to the law. The MoCAT will also formulate a monitoring team under the supervision of the focal person to review the progress of the tobacco control activities of the ministry.
Ms Sabera Akter said about the monitoring team that the representatives from Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation, Bangladesh Tourism Board, National Tobacco Control Cell, Dhaka Ahsania Mission and hotels-motels will be included in the monitoring team, which will be formed very soon.
Mr Aminul Islam Sujon, Program Officer of the National Tobacco Control Cell said that the hospitality guideline is definitely a very positive step, especially to materialize the “Tobacco-free Bangladesh by 2040” goal of honourable Prime Minister and to implement the existing law. Other ministries and their divisions can also formulate such guidelines to keep the institutions and public places under them smoke-free. We thank everyone involved in the process.
When asked regarding the topic, assisting organization Dhaka Ahsnia Mission’s Assistant Director, Mr Mukhlesur Rahman informed us that tobacco is a harmful product. The rate of non-smokers affected by secondhand smoking at restaurants has reduced by 30% from 2009 to 2017 due to some strong interventions. This has made us realize the importance to take more initiatives in this regard. In order to ensure the health of children, females, and personnel working in this sector, the DAM has provided technical support to the MoCAT to formulate the Tobacco-Free Hospitality Sector Strategy paper.
According to GATS 2017, almost 22% population in government buildings/offices are being exposed to secondhand smoke. Although smoking is prohibited in enclosed spaces, 42.7% population (8.1 million) are being exposed to secondhand smoke at workplaces. Considering these scenarios, MoCAT circulated the notice to implement Tobacco-Free Hospitality Sector Strategy paper at every office/directorate/agency and institution under them and all 1-5 star hotels. – Press release

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