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Anti-farmer provision removed from Bangladesh’s new draft tobacco law

| March 5, 2013

Two provisions have been dropped from the final draft of an anti-tobacco law in Bangladesh following lobbying from tobacco companies, according to a story in The Daily Star.

One of the provisions that have been dropped would have prevented farmers from obtaining soft loans or subsidies for tobacco cultivation. The other would have prevented separate smoking areas being included in otherwise smoke-free public places.

Anti-tobacco campaigners and officials in the health and agriculture ministries pointed their fingers at the finance ministry for making the changes to the draft under the influence of tobacco companies.

However, the Finance Minister was quoted as saying he had no idea why the provision for not providing soft loans or subsidies for tobacco cultivation was dropped from the final draft.

The cabinet approved in December the draft that includes for the first time chewing tobacco, dried tobacco leaves, tobacco powder and other tobacco derivatives in the list of tobacco products covered by the law.

It includes provisions for having pictorial warnings on tobacco packs, increasing the number of smoke-free public places, tightening the control on tobacco advertisements and sponsorships, and raising fines for violations of the tobacco law.

The Smoking and Tobacco Products Usage (Control) (Amendment) Bill was sent yesterday to the parliamentary standing committee on health for further scrutiny.

Category: Breaking News

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