Bangladesh: Pictorial warnings to appear in 1 year, 6 of 7 images disgarded

February 25, 2015

The deadline for implementing pictorial warning on tobacco packets has been increased for two months, and for that the tobacco companies have got one year to implement the pictorial warning on tobacco packets after passing the Tobacco Control Rules, and among the seven types of pictorial warnings now only one will be used, reads a report on the Daily Bhorer Kagoj on February 25, 2015 by Tutul Rahman, an ATMA member and Swapna Chakrabortee. The report reads that the draft over the issue is on finalization stage and although the draft was formulated about two year ago, the pictorial warning could not be enforced yet because of the interference from the tobacco companies. A Health Ministry official, following the report, seeking anonymity said that the deadline extension of implementing pictorial warning on tobacco packets is highly harmful for public health.

The draft tobacco control Rules underwent extensive analysis for several months at the Health and Law Ministry where the tobacco companies have manipulated the Draft after their benefits, and even the Health Minister had met with the representatives of multinational tobacco company which is completely illegal according to the international anti-tobacco treaty FCTC, but the Health Minister, denied the allegation with an excuse that he is able to meet anyone as a public representative, read the report.

Earlier, the tobacco companies appointed different consultant (e.g. printer’s owners association) to advocate them with the excuses that pictorial warning implementation will be delayed as the required machineries will have to be bought from international market, and thus they sought 10 months from the Health Ministry official to implement the pictorial warning.

The report also mentions that the amendments on the tobacco control law are important but could not be enforced for the negligence of the relevant officials. A neighboring country – Pakistan has also implemented the pictorial warning and the tobacco companies in the country are using 40 per cent of the total space of the packets while it will be 85 per cent from March of this year, reads the report. Anti-tobacco experts, after the news, are on the view that implementing pictorial warning on tobacco packets is not a difficult one for Bangladesh and if the frightening images are on the packets, it will be helpful to uphold the negative consequences of tobacco use among the commoners.

The report also says that researchers have found that such pictorial warnings will be able to attract attention of smokers for about 7000 times in average annually that will be helpful to help them giving up smoking.

The detail of the report, including an image of the pictorial warning, is available on the following link: