Tobacco use among adults in Bangladesh reaches 43.3%

Use of tobacco among adults in Bangladesh has increased to 43.3 percent this year, higher than the 37 percent of 2004, despite massive campaign and enactment of law, local media reported on Wednesday.

The report, titled “The Global Adult Tobacco Survey Bangladesh Report-2009” showed a total of 41.3 million people in the South Asian country are now in the habit of using tobacco — either in the form of smoking or chewing, said a report of the leading English newspaper The Daily Star Wednesday.

According to the study, which was conducted on 11,200 households by the World Health Organization in association with the Bangladeshi government, 58 percent of the respondents are male and 28.7 percent are female. The prevalence of tobacco use in rural areas is 45.1 percent and 38.1 percent in urban area, it said.

The report also revealed an estimated 1 percent of the national income in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) is spent on purchase of cigarettes and 0.4 percent on bidis (a kind of locally manufactured tobacco).

“Overall economic loss due to tobacco use is very high in fact,” Bangladeshi Health Minister AFM Ruhal Haque was quoted as saying at the launching ceremony of the report on Tuesday.

Use of tobacco is directly linked to health and it is responsible for different non-communicable diseases, he said, adding that the previous report of the WHO in 2004 revealed that around 57,000 people died every year in the country due to the diseases related to tobacco.

The minister said the government is considering making it mandatory to print pictorial health warnings on the packets of cigarettes.

The government recently includes the messages of harmful affects of tobacco in school textbook curriculum to raise awareness of the society, The Daily Star report said.

According to the report, imposing additional taxes on tobacco production, amendment to the Tobacco Control Act and its implementation, anti-smoking media messages and pictorial health warnings on all tobacco products were recommended following the study.


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