The Financial Express

Smoking in public transports

H M Al Imran Khan | Published: December 17, 2015 22:23:35 | Updated: October 22, 2017 12:25:38

Smoking in public transports
The government has signed the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2003 and accordingly formulated Smoking and Tobacco Products Usages (Control) Act in 2005. To meet the growing needs of the citizens and the urge to control the use of tobacco inside the country, the government amended the law in 2013. The law of 2005 is considered "An Act for framing laws to regulate the production, usage, sale-purchase and advertisement of smoking and tobacco products." 
According to law, "Public Transport" means motor car, bus, train, tram, ship, launch, all kinds of mechanised public transport, aircraft and any other transport determined or declared by the government by notification in the Official Gazette. Based on the law, such transportation modes should remain smoking-free.  
But in reality, the rate of smoking in public transports has increased recently and has become intolerable to an extent. The drivers and their associates smoke cigarettes openly during the driving which causes trouble for the passengers on board. This is a common scene in the capital's mass transports. 
Following the amended tobacco control law, smoking is prohibited in all forms of public places and public transports. The ban has been imposed in the interest of public health. But unfortunately, in most cases, the law is not followed. Smoking in public transports has become a common phenomenon at present. 
Sometimes, the passengers are also seen boarding with burning cigarettes in their hands which is also uncomfortable for the non-smoking passengers. This is mostly done either by the youths or the middle-aged citizens who appear to be well groomed and educated. They ignore regulations of the country prohibiting smoking during the ride.
The government is, on the one hand, against using tobacco in public places while the violators are aggressive in their attitude on the other and thus the amended tobacco control law is being ignored everywhere. A section of people try to discourage the drivers and their associates to refrain from smoking but they cannot do so as the law enforcers are not at hand  in times of need. Besides, when the passengers request the drivers and associates to stop smoking, they indulge into altercations with the passengers. At times the protesting passengers are physically harassed by the drivers and their associates. 
At times mobile court drives are made in different parts of the capital and across the country as well but those drives cannot bring a desired outcome. The smoker drivers may stop smoking or take a break briefly and continue again when the mobile court drive is over. 
The Minister for Road Transport and Bridges, Obaidul Quader has said recently at an anti-tobacco programme that he would imply a ban on smoking in transport sector. We wish him every success in this regard so that smoking in public transports is banned once and for all.         
The writer is an anti-tobacco researcher and activist.   

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