The Bangladesh Restaurant Owners Association wants close down of ‘Designated Smoking Areas' in restaurants across the country for public health reasons.
The demand was made at a virtual discussion titled 'Role of Bangladesh Restaurant Owners Association in Amending Tobacco Control Act' jointly organised by Bangladesh Restaurant Owners Association and Dhaka Ahsania Mission on June 17.
The meeting was presided over by Anwar Hossain Mridha, vice-president of the Bangladesh Restaurant Owners Association.
Bangladesh Restaurant Owners Association’s Vice-President Rezaul Karim Sarkar Robin, Acting General Secretary Firoz Alam Sumon, Organising Secretary Syed Mohammad Andalib, Treasurer Toufiqul Islam, Vice President and President of Cox's Bazar Restaurant Owners Association Naimul Haque Chowdhury, Lead Policy Advisor of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids Bangladesh Md. Mostafizur Rahman, Grants Manager Abdus Salam Mia, Senior Policy Advisor Md. Ataur Rahman Masud, Assistant Director of Dhaka Ahsania Mission Mukhlesur Rahman spoke at the meeting.
Md. Shariful Islam, Coordinator, Tobacco Control Project, presented the keynote paper at the meeting where Sharmin Akhter Rini, Program Officer, Dhaka Ahsania Mission moderated the discussion.
Md. Mukhlesur Rahman, Assistant Director, Dhaka Ahsania Mission, said, "If the restaurant is completely smoke-free, everyone, including women and children, will feel comfortable in it, which will increase customer turnout."
In addition, there is no possibility of an accident from the fire of bidi cigarettes and the employees of the restaurant and customers will also be protected from secondhand smoke.
Abdus Salam Mia, Grants Manager, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids Bangladesh, said that under Section 4 (1) of the Tobacco Control Act, no person can smoke in any public place or on public transport.
However, smoking has been allowed in public places in a number of cases, including restaurants that are not enclosed by four walls. There are now many hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, etc., which are not surrounded by walls. Therefore, the use of tobacco in restaurants should be completely banned.
Anwar Hossain Mridha, vice-president of the Bangladesh Restaurant Owners Association, said the association would work with the Dhaka Ahsania Mission to make the restaurants completely smoke-free in order to build a tobacco-free Bangladesh.
Therefore, we will continue to cooperate in any way.
Md. Mostafizur Rahman, Lead Policy Advisor of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids Bangladesh, said that non-smokers have the right to protect themselves from the dangers of secondhand smoke. But the number of victims of secondhand smoking is increasing. Since smoking cannot be controlled, that's why smoking in all public places, including restaurants, should be banned.
Leaders of the Bangladesh Restaurant Owners Association expressed their views in favour of making the restaurants completely smoke-free in the implementation of the Tobacco Control Act.