Smokeless tobacco control needs tougher modified law – Anti-Tobacco Agency

Publish: 10:15 PM, July 28, 2022 | Update: 10:15 PM, July 28, 2022

Pinky Akter

‘Bata bhore pan dibo gal vore kheo, babur chokhe ghum nei ghum dia jeyo’ The mothers of rural Bengal used to use a rhyme that is still popular when putting their children to sleep.

From this rhythm, it can be understood that the tendency of women to consume betel leaf is high, which has not decreased yet. Amena Begum, a 70-year-old resident of Mohammadpur in the capital, has been using betel leaf with Hakimpuri Zorda for more than 40 years. Currently, due to health reasons, the doctor advises him to give up this habit, but he is unable to give up her bad habit. This elderly woman refuses to accept the fact that Zorda is smokeless tobacco.

There is no health awareness and anti-tobacco campaign about the harm of smokeless tobacco like Gul, Saadapata, Zorda. There is no such obligation in the existing law. And so day by day its use and damage is increasing.

As smokeless tobacco is cheap and readily available among women, especially rural poor and uneducated women are most addicted to it. Many of those who consume smokeless tobacco do not know how harmful it is or what problems it can cause to the body.

The Prime Minister has announced that Bangladesh will become a tobacco-free country within 2040. This decision has been taken considering the health risks of tobacco. But when we talk about the health risks of tobacco, cigarettes come to our mind first. But Gul, Sadapata can cause serious health complications. Maybe even death. This is the claim of health professionals.

In this regard, Dr. Arup Ratan Chowdhury said, ZORDA  or SADA Pata directly attacks the cells in the oral cavity, which can lead to various complex diseases of the mouth, including cancer, and the most alarming thing is that women’s reproductive health is also at mortal risk due to tobacco consumption.

Tobacco also poses many health risks for women. Adverse effects on premenstrual syndrome symptoms. Studies have shown that smoking increases the duration of periods such as cramps by 50%. The problem lasts two or three days in women who smoke compared to women who do not smoke. It reaches the body through inhalation during smoking. Some of these chemicals have been found to be very dangerous for female smokers. This affects their reproductive health. These chemicals not only decrease the chance of ovulation, but they also decrease the movement of the egg through the fallopian tubes to the uterus. Due to which the fetus develops outside the uterus. This is called an ectopic pregnancy. Such conditions can prove fatal to the fetus.

Doctors say that tobacco affects the health of women more than men. In this regard, Dr. Shekh Md Mahabubs Sobhan of National heart Foundation Hospital & Research institute said that women’s reproductive health is the most affected by tobacco consumption. Smokeless tobacco is just as harmful as smoked tobacco. Low birth weight babies, miscarriages, abortions, and even complications in newborns. He even said that there is a fear of being affected by uterine cancer and breast cancer by consuming this tobacco.

According to a report by the World Health Organization in November 2021, 1.3 billion people in the world now use tobacco products. In 2015, this number was 132 crores. In 2020, 22.3 percent of the world’s population used tobacco products. Among them 7.8 percent are women. In 2020, the number of women who used tobacco was 23 crore 10 lakh. Among them, the number of women aged 55 to 64 years is the highest. More than 8 million people die every year due to the use of tobacco and tobacco products alone. Among them, about 1.2 million people are dying due to tobacco products even if they do not smoke directly.

According to the survey conducted by Anti-Tobacco Women’s Alliance (Tabinaz), the number of smokeless tobacco users in our country is 63 per thousand, while the number of women is 379. This information is undoubtedly worrying. Smokeless tobacco like Gul, Saadapata contains more than 2000 chemicals, which cause life-threatening diseases.

Executive Director of Pragya ABM Zubair said that the strictness of the law is necessary to reduce the consumption of tobacco and to protect the future generation from the grip of tobacco. These harmful tobacco products should be banned in public places for both men and women, along with restrictions on the sale of smokeless tobacco. He said that the goal of making the country tobacco-free by 2040 is possible only through the strictness of the law.

According to the survey by Global Adult Tobacco, out of 3.78 million tobacco users in the country, 2.2 million people use smokeless tobacco, which is 58 percent. Again, if we look at the smokeless tobacco factories, it will be seen that the number of listed companies in the country is 20 to 30. But in the actual sense, its number is 10 to 15 thousand.