Tobacco use is a major cause of many preventable diseases and premature deaths. Globally, more than five million people die each year of tobacco-related illness, a figure expected to increase to more than 8 million by 2030. Bangladesh is also overburdened with tobacco-related illness and, in 2004 an estimated 57,000 people died of tobacco-related diseases. In Bangladesh, tobacco control is considered a lower priority issue compared to many other health-related programs. Thus tobacco control-related research has historically not been a popular topic within the academic community; relevant research journals are limited; and, there is no platform where potential tobacco control researchers can get support and guidance.
Against this backdrop, the Bangladesh Center for Communication, a national strategic communication NGO in Bangladesh, with funding support from the Bloomberg Initiative through the Institute for Global Tobacco Control based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA initiated formation of a Tobacco Control Research Network in April 2013 through a Tobacco Control Research Network Kick-off Meeting. Representatives of relevant Government Ministries and Departments, public and private universities, development organizations were invited to attend the meeting. The participants unanimously felt the necessity to form such a Tobacco Control Research Network. A small committee was formed to develop the Terms of Reference of the Network. Bangladesh Tobacco Control Research Network (BTCRN) was launched in September 2013.
The overall objective of BTCRN is to promote tobacco control research in Bangladesh and to create a nurturing culture for such research. The specific objectives of the network are to: