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78pc of e-cigarette outlets opened in five years from 2017 to 2021: Study

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Nearly 78 per cent of e-cigarette outlets opened within five years from 2017 to 2021, causing massive public health hazards, according to a latest study.

Suggesting the formation of a separate committee or section under the National Tobacco Control Cell (NTCC) over e-cigarette, the study also found only 22 per cent retail vaping shops have been selling e-cigarettes for over five years.

Vaping means the action or practice of inhaling and exhaling vapour containing nicotine and flavouring produced by a device designed for this purpose.

The findings were revealed at the dissemination seminar held at Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) on Tuesday (April 4, 2023), arranged by the Inter Press Network-IPN.

The tobacco industry applies various tactics to rapidly expand the e-cigarette market to thwart the ‘Tobacco-free Bangladesh’ goal.

“Until the first few years of arrival in Bangladesh, some e-cigarette shops were found only in posh areas of Dhaka. Now, e-cigarette shops are available across the country,” according to the study.

Ehsanul Haque, a journalist and also PhD researcher in Dhaka University, and Syed Saiful Alam, a researcher on tobacco control, carried out the six-month study titled “Bangladesh Tobacco Industry Tactics for Novel Product Expansion” in 2022.

Prof Dr Arup Ratan Choudhury, founder president of Association For the Prevention of Drug Abuse (MANAS); Dr Nasir Uddin Ahmed, former chairman of National Board of Revenue (NBR); Prof Dr Golam Mohiuddin Faruque, project director at Bangladesh Cancer Society; Abu Naser Khan, chairman of Save the Environment Movement; Advocate Syed Mahbubul Alam Tahin, an expert on public health; Prof Dr Ahmad Kamruzzaman Majumder, chairman of Environmental Science department at Stamford University Bangladesh; and Helal Ahmed of Bangladesh Anti-Tobacco Alliance (BATA) took part in discussion at the seminar.

Md Golam Mowla, executive director of IPN, presided over the event, while Md Bazlur Rahman, associate professor at Dhaka International University (DIU), and Hamidul Islam Hillol of BNTTP also spoke on the occasion.

Highlighting the increase in e-cigarette sales in recent times in Bangladesh, the study also recommended imposing a ban on e-cigarette in Bangladesh through national legislation.

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