The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has requested the Ministry of Industries to suspend the production, supply, marketing and sale of all kinds of tobacco products to aid the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
A letter in this regard signed by Khairul Alam Sheikh, a joint secretary at the Health Ministry, was sent to the Ministry of Industries on Monday.
In the letter, the Health Ministry said the World Health Organization (WHO) had discouraged the use of tobacco-related products as tobacco users are considered to be more vulnerable to Covid-19 – a highly contagious and deadly respiratory illness caused by a new strain of coronavirus, named Sars-CoV-2.
Some research also notes that Covid-19 infection can cause serious harm to smokers – a smoker’s risks of dying from Covid-19 is 14 times higher than that of a non-smoker.
“For the betterment of public health, the ministry [of industries] is requested to suspend production, distribution and sales of tobacco-related products,” the letter reads.
India and some other countries have already suspended tobacco production following the Covid-19 outbreak.
The number of Covid-19 cases are on the rise in Bangladesh, with 25,121 confirmed cases between March 8 and May 19. Among them, 370 have died.
Earlier, Awami League lawmaker Saber Hossain Chowdhury sent a letter to the Health Ministry, asking for action regarding the use of tobacco in the country.
On the recommendation of a temporary ban on tobacco use, Saber said: “It’s heartening to see public health being given priority and importance. Every day about 500 people die in Bangladesh due to tobacco use. We want to see the end of this silent killer for good, and make Bangladesh tobacco-free in the shortest possible time. Much more needs to be done, but this is a solid beginning.”