Bangladesh - FCTC overtaxation hurts tobacco industry country depends on..

April 17, 2009 - Bangladesh remains a poor, overpopulated, and inefficiently-governed nation. Although more than half of GDP is generated through the service sector, nearly two-thirds of Bangladeshis are employed in the agriculture sector.

Bangladesh government has been urged to increase tax on tobacco products to discourage their consumption.

According to reports, about 57,000 people die for using tobacco every year in Bangladesh, while 3.62 lakh become infected. A study found about 80 percent of the drug users in the city addicted to cigarettes. Speakers at a recent seminar urged the government to impose more tax on tobacco products in the upcoming national budget.

Smoking and Tobacco Products Usage (Control) Act, 2005 declaring smoking at public places and public transports a punishable offence. Bangladesh was also the first country to ratify the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) of the World Health Organisation in 2004. But there is no strict enforcement of the above Act. Taking advantage of this, some smokers smoke at public places. Side-stream smoke from a burning cigarette has higher concentration of poisonous substances than the main-stream smoke and is thus, more harmful for the passive smokers. While a complete ban on the use of tobacco will not suit to the present reality of demand and consumption certain corners of building and rooms at workplaces may be earmarked for smoking. Additional tax on the production and sale of tobacco products is likely to discourage the use of tobacco.

Reference: Overtaxation to hurt tobacco industry, Shahidul Huq, The Financial Express, 4/6/2009; Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: Progress and Implications for Health and the Environment Questia Journal article by G. Emmanuel Guindon, Joy De Beyer, Sarah Galbraith; Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 111, 2003.

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