Journey towards Enriching Local Evidence on Tobacco Control

Bangladesh Center for Communication Programs (BCCP) and Bangladesh Tobacco Control Research Network (BTCRN), in collaboration with the Institute for Global Tobacco Control based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH), Baltimore, USA, organized a daylong Research Findings Dissemination Conference on Tobacco Control on March 20, 2023, at CIRDAP International Conference Center, Dhaka. The findings of nine research projects conducted in 2022 on different aspects of tobacco control were presented at the conference through two scientific sessions.

Some useful findings came out from the research projects. A study on Profitability Analysis with Comparison of Three Major Crops and Tobacco Production in Tobacco Cultivated Area in Bangladesh revealed that food crop cultivation is more profitable than tobacco cultivation. Smoking incidents in over-the-top (OTT) contents are quite common and these are influencing young adults. Dramas, web series and films were found to be non-compliant with the tobacco control law. The facts were found from the study titled “On Screen Usage in Popular Bangladeshi OTT Platform: How does it Influence Young Adults in Bangladesh” and this study has recommended including in the tobacco control law not to show the tobacco contents in the OTT platforms. A study Exploring the Prospects and Challenges of Implementation of Tobacco Vendor Licensing in Bangladesh found that tobacco control law compliances were poor in tobacco vendor licensing areas compared to implementing areas. Hence the study recommended implementing tobacco vendor licensing all over the country to reduce the consumption of tobacco use. One more study on Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2022: Report on Implementation of FCTC Article 5.3 in Bangladesh revealed that Bangladesh scored 72 in terms of Tobacco Industry Interference Index which was exactly the same as the previous year’s index. Obtaining the score proves that Bangladesh has extreme tobacco industry interference.      

National Professor Dr. Brig. (Rtd.) Abdul Malik, President, National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh, and Advisor, Bangladesh Tobacco Control Research Network chaired the inaugural program of the conference while Professor Dr. Syed Modasser Ali, Former Advisor to the Honorable Prime Minister, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Social Welfare Affairs; and Chairman, Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC) was present as the Chief Guest.

In addition, Ms. Kazi Zebunnessa Begum, Additional Secretary (WH Wing), Health Services Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW); Dr. Md. Enamul Haque, Director General, Health Economics Unit, MoHFW; Dr. Bardan Jung Rana, WHO Representative to Bangladesh; Dr. Joanna Cohen, Director, Institute for Global Tobacco Control, Maryland, USA; Dr. Abdillah Ahsan, Coordinator, Indonesian Tobacco Control Research attended the opening session of the conference as Guests of Honor. Mr. Mohammad Shahjahan, Director and CEO of BCCP gave his opening remarks at the beginning.

About 200 participants attended the conference, including the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare officials, other Government and non-government organizations, representatives from development partners, faculties and students from different universities, media agencies, and other stakeholders.