According to the World Health Organization, Tobacco alone kills 57000 people affects 1.2 million people with 8 killer diseases including Tuberculosis, cancer, diabetes, asthma, cardiac diseases, Berger?s disease etc in Bangladesh a year. It also causes a large economic loss of about 11000 crore BDT per year in treatment, death and paralysis of only 25% of these population. Whereas the government receives only 5000 crore BDT a year as revenue from tobacco industry. Considering this reality SERAC-Bangladesh on the eve of World No Tobacco Day on 31 May demanded high taxes on tobacco products to protect the health of the mass people, organizing a demonstration at Mymensingh railway station area.
Speakers urged high taxes so that the tobacco products become pricey claiming that, the price of tobacco products did not raise even though the regular commodity prices went high by last few years. As a result young people are being addicted to nicotine at a high rate and in most of the time it results into switching to other drugs. A study by World Bank and World Health Organization also states that an increase of 10% tax on tobacco decreases death rate at an anticipatory level in both high and low income countries. In addition, imposing high tax on tobacco products would make these pricey and out of reach for many young people and it will impact in reduction of tobacco consumption.
The demonstration was addressed by SERAC-Bangladesh?s Program Officer Oli Ahad, Students from Ananda Mohan College Nusrat Jahan, Atiqul Islam, Jewel Miah, Shahin Ahmed and SERAC-Bangladesh?s project assistant Rakit Hasan Tito while it was moderated by organization?s Project Officer Barkatullah Bhuiyan.
?A rally to observe the day was also organized by Bangladesh Anti Tobacco Alliance, District Health Department, SERAC-Bangladesh, NATAB, BRAC, Ushika at the presence of district Civil Surgeon Dr. ASM Abdus Samad, while the Deputy Commissioner of Mymensingh Mustakim Billah Faruqui, Additional Police Super S M Jahangir Alam, Senior Planning Officer Birendranatha, Dr. Abdur Rouf and NATAB Secretary Advocate Shomsher Ali attended.