Bangladesh - nearly 70 percent of current smokers are planning to quit ..

December 29, 2009 - As over 5 million people die globally each year due to tobacco-related diseases, nearly 70 percent of the current smokers in Bangladesh are planning to quit smoking, according to a survey.

"More significantly, almost half of the current smokers (47.3 %) made attempts to give up smoking in the last 12 months," the survey says.

The survey titled Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS)- Bangladesh Report 2009, is the first ever assessment made in Bangladesh in private sector using electronic means of data collection. The National Institute of Preventive and Social Medicine (NIPSOM) in collaboration with Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) and the National Institute of Population Research and Training (NIPORT) conducted the survey.

See related news brief: Bangladesh - tobacco use among adults reaches 43.3 percent..

It was conducted this year as a household survey among the people of 15 years of age and above. The data were collected from 200 urban and 200 rural primary sampling units drawn by a multi-stage, clustered sample design to produce nationality representative data. The World Health Organization (WHO) and US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention provided technical assistance for conducting the survey with financial assistance from Bloomberg Philanthropies under the Bloomberg Global Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use.

Bangladesh is one of those countries where both production and consumption of tobacco are high and it is overburdened with tobacco-related diseases.

Though a good number of smokers plan to change their habit realizing its dangerous effects on health, the number of smokers is not falling at all. A 2004 WHO study attributed 57,000 deaths and 382,000 disabilities in Bangladesh to tobacco use.

The current survey finds 21.9 million tobacco users in Bangladesh while 25.9 million of the adult population currently uses smokeless tobacco. Though the prevalence is almost similar in males (26.4 %) and females (27.9), the current smokeless tobacco use is more prevalent in rural areas.

In Bangladesh, tobacco is consumed both in smoking form such as cigarette, bidi and hukkhah, and smokeless form as zarda, sada pata, gul, etc.

According to data available from the survey, among all adults, 45 percent were exposed to secondhand smoke, which is known as passive smoking, in public places.

The study shows that overall, 97.4 percent of the adults believe that smoking causes serious illness. However, their beliefs differ regarding the causation of various diseases.

Data show that four in five people, including tobacco consumers, supported an increase in tobacco taxes.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Prof Dr AFM Ruhal Haque said the government has a plan to increase tax on tobacco products, especially bidi, so that the supply and consumption of these harmful stuffs can be cut down significantly. "It's essential to have effective tobacco-control programms in the country to prevent premature deaths and disabilities as 57,000 people due to smoking every year in Bangladesh," he said. He emphasized education for all which can be the best option to make smokers aware about its bad impacts on health, as the rate of smokers is higher among the uneducated people. Researchers think tobacco is more prevalent in rural areas (45.1 %) than urban areas, as people there are mostly uneducated. So, the government wants to make it costly so that people cannot afford it.

It is believed that the supply and production of tobacco cannot be stopped unless its demand is reduced.

Statement Regarding First Release of Global Adult Tobacco Survey Results by Bangladesh..
, Media Newswire. Thirteen countries besides Bangladesh participated in the first round of GATS: Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Mexico, Philippines, Poland, Russian Federation, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, and Vietnam. Results from GATS will help Bangladesh and the other participating countries that will soon be releasing results. Likewise, results will help countries translate data into action through improved policies and programs.

Researchers suggest formulation of a policy to make public places and offices 100-percent free from smoking and ensure its effective implementation.

Reference: 70 pc smokers plan to give up: Awareness about bad effects on rise, United News of Bangladesh (UNB), The New Nation, 12/26/2009.

Related news brief:
Bangladesh - tobacco use among adults reaches 43.3 percent..;
Bangladesh - FCTC overtaxation hurts tobacco industry country depends on..;
Bangladeshi government will increase taxes on tobacco products..;
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