April 12, 2024, 5:29 pm

Virtual human chain forms demanding rise of tobacco tax

  • Update Time : Wednesday, May 5, 2021
  • 269 Time View

Staff Correspondent:

Around 100 anti-tobacco activists all around the country formed a virtual human chain on May 5 demanding imposition of specific tax on cigarettes and all other tobacco products with a view to save the lives of people.

The activists also used the social networking site facebook to press home their demands, said a press release.

They posted their pictures with slogan “Tamak ponne barle kor-bachbe torun desh hobe sonirvor” and “Dam baran tamaker jibon bachan amader” on their social media handles on 5 May at 12 p.m. using a hashtag #raisetaxsavelives.  The demand of this human chain was to raise tax on tobacco product in order to make them unaffordable for young generation and people with lower income.

Chairman of Shastho Surokkha Foundation and Bangladesh Parliamentary Forum for Health and Well Being, Professor Dr Habibe Millat MP participated in the virtual human chain. According to him “There are no alternatives to control tobacco for the betterment of public health. Our economy will get stronger once we deal with the tobacco hazards. It is important for us to achieve the goal of making Bangladesh tobacco free by 2040 as promised by our honorable prime minister. Imposing specific tax on tobacco will be an effective measure for that”. Non-government organization Unnayan Shamannay’s Chairman and Ex-governor of BB Dr. Atiur Rahman opined that; we must make tobacco products unavailable by imposing specific tax on them. “We have to take necessary steps in the shortest time possible to make tobacco products unaffordable to the people with lower income.” he said.

ABM Zubair, the Executive Director of research and advocacy organization PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress), one of the key organizers of this human chain, said, “The current tobacco tax structure needs to be reformed and introducing specific tax on tobacco products could be an effective measure in that regard.”

Prominent journalists, member of parliaments, economists, physicians took part in the event.

Anti-tobacco advocate organizations like Dhaka Ahsania Mission, VOICE, National Heart Foundation, Sastho Surokkha Foundation, Unnayan Samannay, DORP and PROGGA jointly arranged the program with the technical support from the ‘Tobacco Free We’.

Anti-tobacco organizations said that tobacco tax and price raise will encourage 11 lakh grown-ups to quit smoking.  In the long run we will be able to prevent untimely death of 3 lakh 90 thousand smokers and 4 lakh youngsters. It will enable the government to earn additional revenue of Tk 3 thousand 400 crore. Additionally increasing the price of bidi and smokeless tobacco by imposing specific tax will keep people of lower income group from smoking. Since, they are usually the ones that suffer from the most health burden caused by tobacco.

 

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