Bangladesh is going to be the third fastest growing economy in the world in terms of achieving high Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019, according to a report of United Nations. The report indicated Bangladesh economy is also expanding at a fast pace in the coming year, above 7% per year.
The report also indicated that Bangladesh economy will grow at 7.2% in 2020, while Indian at 7.4%.Bangladesh is a developing country with promising economic power in the world and rapidly expanding the areas of manufacturing and industrial sector.
But it is a matter despair that Tobacco Industry with full of modern equipment and marketing strategies are growing like a monster reproducing large level of profits year after year. Though they pay a large number of taxes and create opportunities to develop a prestigious career for highly professionals, it is merely like a parasite in comparison to the other side of the sector.
Tobacco Atlas Bangladesh also brought intentional estimation of harms caused by smoking in their Sixth Edition of Tobacco Atlas Sixth Edition by American Cancer Society, Inc. and Vital Strategies in 2018.Under the societal harms, the economic cost of smoking in Bangladesh amounts to 158578 million taka. This includes direct costs related to healthcare expenditures and indirect costs related to lost productivity due to early mortality and morbidity.
A smoker of a poor family in Bangladesh has to spend 15.92% of their average income to smoke daily each year that hindrance the way to the development. To appeal to more customers, the tobacco industry markets its products aggressively even to women and children with their co-current varieties and flavor.
Tobacco Industry Interferences and Tactics
While many governments along with public health workers and anti-tobacco activists try to reduce health and environmental hazards and effects by implementing measures protecting tobacco use. The tobacco industry actively fights against these efforts because of their business, frequently using their resources to halt TC laws with other policies including public health policies where they can.
Tobacco industry interferences and tactics are being witnessed as well as observed all around us now-a-days especially in expanding Tobacco business especially in large populated and growing economic country of South Asia including India, Lao PDR, Japan, Vietnam and Bangladesh, and.
Tobacco Company becomes more aggressive in protecting as well as expanding their business. Although smoking is on the declining trend in several developed countries, but due to the socio-economic condition, poor level of governance and transparency, the tobacco industries are continuously carrying out their intellectual interferences in policy-development, TI benefits, governance and transparency, Conflict of Interest and Preventive Measures.
Large level of evidences demonstrates that tobacco companies use a wide range of tactics to interfere with tobacco control policies. Strategies include direct and indirect political lobbying and campaign contributions, financing of research, attempting to affect the course of regulatory and policy machinery and engaging in social responsibility initiatives as part of public relations campaigns. As a large populated county, Bangladesh isalso facing the instable and indicative point of stands to implement the TC policies as well as to leave the TIs.
In its efforts to derail or weaken strong tobacco control policies, tobacco industry interference takes many forms. They are:-Creating and exploiting legislative loopholes; demanding a seat at government decision-making tables; promoting voluntary regulation instead of legislation; and drafting and distributing sample legislation that is favorable to the tobacco industry.
-Exaggerating the economic importance of their industry expressed in terms of employment, tax contributions and other economic indicators, to the economy of a country, region, province or municipality-Manipulating public opinion to gain the appearance of respectability by public relations firms and other groups, manipulating media and public opinion to gain public support by showing their economic contribution and highlighting their social investment as CSR activities.
-Fabricating support through front groups like smokers' rights groups, citizens' rights groups and business groups to give impressions of social supports for their own interests. -Discrediting proven science and trying to create establish doubt, dilemma and disputes to weaken tobacco control legislation and policies.-Threatening of legal retaliation against a specific policy or set of policies against governments by groups of lawyers and also bullying to lose the huge taxation and employment benefits.
Finally, regardless its shape or form, tobacco industry interference is always designed to thwart attempts to curb the tobacco epidemic and its negative social, economic, environmental and health consequences. While there is a growing awareness of the tobacco industry's unceasing attempts to sabotage public health, it is less well known that tobacco companies often work hand in glove with their commercial competitors to keep regulation to a minimum and obtain advantageous conditions from the government to help them run their businesses.
The tobacco industry's interferences are covered into the vague and away from the areas of tobacco control and health. Tobacco industry interference is a threat to public health, whether the industry is private or state-owned. So all countries need to be aware and take action against tobacco industry interference.
The writer is a development activist
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