Survey: 99% of Ctg govt offices non-compliant with the tobacco control law

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Management of public places and public transports are responsible for ensuring that their premises are smoke-free and also display no-smoking signs

According to the Smoking and Using of Tobacco Products (Control) Act-2005, smoking is prohibited in all public places and public transports.

Management of public places and public transports are responsible for ensuring that their premises are smoke-free and also display no-smoking signs.

However, a recent survey carried out in the port city found that 99% government secretariat and offices do not comply with the law.

Younger Power in Social Action (YPSA), a Chittagong-based non-government organization, revealed the survey at the Chittagong Press Club yesterday.

The survey carried out in June this year, with technical assistance from Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, was aimed at re-assessing compliance scenario of tobacco control law in public places and transports in the port city. It provided evidence-based information to the policymakers and law enforcement agencies for taking necessary measures.

Data was collected from 282 government offices, 125 educational institutions, 187 healthcare facilities, 423 restaurants, and 419 public buses.

Government offices

Fifty-four per cent of government offices were identified as places where incidents of smoking have been evident. Ninety-eight per cent government offices were found not displaying a ‘no smoking’ sign as per tobacco control law. Sixty-six per cent government offices were found not displaying any type of ‘no smoking’ signs. Four per cent of government offices were found having tobacco advertisements. 1.5% of government offices were found with tobacco points of sale within the boundary. Sixty-three per cent of government offices were found with tobacco points of sale within a 100-metre radius.

Educational Institutions

Almost cent per cent of educational institutions were found to be in violation of the tobacco control law. Forty-one per cent educational institutions were found with smoking instances. Hundred per cent educational institutions were found not displaying ‘no smoking’ sign as per law.

Eighty-three per cent educational institutions were found not displaying any type of ‘no smoking’ sign. 4% of educational institutions were found to have tobacco advertisements. 3% of educational institutions were found where roving vendors were selling tobacco products within the school and college premises. Sixty-two per cent of educational institutions were found with tobacco points of sale within a 100-metre radius.

Healthcare facilities  

Ninety-seven per cent of healthcare facilities were found to be in violation of the tobacco control law. Ninety-four per cent healthcare facilities were found not displaying ‘no smoking’ sign as per the tobacco control law. Sixty-nine per cent healthcare facilities were found not displaying any type of ‘no smoking’ sign.

Sixteen per cent of healthcare facilities were found with direct smoking outside the healthcare facility buildings but inside the boundary.

4% of healthcare facilities were found with tobacco advertisements. 2% of healthcare facilities were found with tobacco selling points within the healthcare facility buildings. Sixty-one per cent healthcare facilities were found with tobacco points of sale within a 100-metre radius.

Eateries and restaurants

Ninety-nine per cent of restaurants were found to be in violation of the tobacco control law. Ninety-eight per cent restaurants were found not displaying ‘no smoking’ sign as per the tobacco control law. Seventy-six per cent restaurants were found not displaying any type of ‘no smoking’ sign.

Twenty-eight per cent of restaurants were found with tobacco advertisements. Fourteen per cent of restaurants were found selling tobacco products inside.

Public buses   

Almost Cent percent buses were found to be in violation of the tobacco law. Hundred per cent of buses were found not displaying ‘no smoking’ sign as per the tobacco control law. Ninety-two per cent of buses were found not displaying any type of ‘no smoking’ sign. Nine per cent of buses were found with tobacco advertisements.

Recommendations

Authorities or owners of public places and public transports should take necessary measures for displaying a sufficient number of ‘no smoking’ signs as per the law. 

Authorities or owners should take necessary measures for ensuring smoke-free public places and public transports.

Concerned authorities should take necessary programs and conduct mobile courts regularly.      

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Bangladesh is the 7th largest tobacco growing, and 8th largest tobacco consuming country.

According to PROGGA, a leading anti-tobacco group in Bangladesh, tobacco consumption kills over 1,62,000 people in Bangladesh every year, and the financial losses of tobacco use here are around Tk 15,600 crore annually.

Smoking causes cancer, stroke, cardiovascular and respiratory problems, among other fatal diseases.