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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Tourism sector to be tobacco-free

Written instructions to follow the Tobacco-Free Hospitality Sector Strategy will be sent to the associate institutions of Bangladesh Tourism Board, and all the institutions under the board will be completely smoke-free.

An orientation meeting on “Tobacco-free Hospitality Sector Strategy” was held on Monday, 22nd July in the Conference Room of the Bangladesh Tourism Board office, where the Additional Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of Bangladesh Tourism Board Dr Bhubon Chandra Biswas expressed his organization’s will to implement tobacco-free atmosphere in it.

Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM) and Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK) jointly organized the meeting. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW)’s joint secretary Mr. Md Khairul Alam Sheikh attended the meeting as a Special Guest. In his speech, he said the written guidelines prove that implementing the Tobacco-Free Hospitality Sector Strategy is indeed a very significant issue.

Assistant Director and Project Coordinator of DAM health sector Md. Mukhlesur Rahman presented the Tobacco-free Hospitality Sector Strategy Paper in the meeting.

High officials of Bangladesh Tourism Board, their associated institution representatives and anti-tobacco activists were also present at the meeting.

In order to control and reduce tobacco usage all around the world through comprehensive actions, Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) had been approved in 2003, and Bangladesh was the first country to sign it.

As a continuation of the efforts, the Government of Bangladesh enacted “Smoking and Tobacco Products Usage (Control) Act, 2005” and formulated necessary rules in 2006. In 2013, the Government amendment the law to make it more compliant to the FCTC and formulated the rules in 2015. The Law prohibits smoking in all the public places.

It has been observed in many instances that the smoking incidences (both active and secondhand) are relatively higher in the hospitality sector than what is in other public places. The public places in hospitality sector include hotels, motels, guesthouses, resorts, restaurants, bars etc. WHO conducted the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) in 2017, and according to the report, at least 50% population has been becoming exposed to secondhand smoking in restaurants.

In order to protect the non-smokers who are getting exposed to the harmful consequences of tobacco use while receiving the services from the hospitality sector- orientation on the strategy paper has become a necessity for Bangladesh Tourism Board.

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