Focused cessation efforts needed against tobacco: WHO

DHAKA : The World Health Organisation (WHO) in a report released today while strongly advocated for improved tax measures against tobacco praised Bangladesh for making substantial progress in implementing tobacco control and prevention measures, reports BSS.
It said Bangladesh is among the seven countries in the world that have raised taxes over 75 percent of the retail price of a pack of cigarettes. Bangladesh has also implemented pictorial health warnings.
The report said improved tax measures stronger law enforcement and enhanced cessation efforts to protect people against the ill-effects of tobacco.
“Recent estimates show that there are about 246 million smokers and 290 million smokeless tobacco users in the Region that include Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Democratic Republic of Korea, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor Leste.” says Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO.
“Tobacco kills approximately 6 million people annually, 20 percent of them live in the Region which accounts for 25 percent of the world’s smokers and almost 90 percent of smokeless tobacco users,” Poonam says marking the release of the WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2015 today.
Dr Poonam says increasing tobacco taxes is the most cost-effective measure of tobacco control; it is a win-win approach for government revenues and the health of the population. Governments need to tax all tobacco products in a manner that people do not opt out of one expensive product to a less expensive one.