Bangladesh mulling e-cigarette ban amid growing health concerns

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Bangladesh is considering imposing a ban on the production, import and sale of e-cigarette and all vaping tobaccos to prevent health consequences.

Secretary for health education to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Shaikh Yusuf Harun made the comment at a briefing on Thursday.

Citing the mounting evidence of health risks associated with e-cigarettes worldwide, he said production, import, and sale of all emerging tobaccos including e-cigarettes must be banned as soon as possible.

“We’ll discuss this with the top authorities,” he said.

Vandana Shah, regional director of US-based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ South Asia Programme, who was also at the briefing, highlighted the growing evidence of the harmful effects of emerging tobacco products.

Recently India has banned e-cigarette after flagging it as a health risk.

The secretary said over 30 countries including Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, and Singapore, also banned these tobaccos. “We have to use the global experiences,” he said.

Over 35 percent of adults aged 15 and above use some form of tobacco in Bangladesh.

However, there are no statistics on the impact of e-cigarettes in Bangladesh.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration in a study found that the use of e-cigarettes among school children rose 78 percent in a year between 2017 and 2018.

They also found that till September 24, e-cigarette and vaping were directly linked with 805 lung disease patients and 12 deaths.

Director-General for Health Services Prof Abul Kalam Azad said e-cigarettes and vaping issues are not highly discussed around the world.

“We’ll also discuss ways to address the challenge,” he said.

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