Amendment of the law to ban electronic cigarettes

The Ministry of Health has again prepared a draft amendment to the Tobacco Smoking and Use of Tobacco Products (Control) Act, banning electronic cigarettes – known as vapes – and oral nicotine packets.

It includes a provision for a maximum fine of Tk 5,000 for using e-cigarettes.

In addition, the draft proposes to prohibit the production, import, export, storage, sale and transportation of electronic cigarettes or their parts.

Violation of this provision is punishable by imprisonment for up to six months or a fine not exceeding Tk 2 lakh or both for the first time. The penalty will continue to double each time the offense is repeated.

The Department of Health and Family Welfare recently sent copies of the draft – prepared to amend the Smoking and Tobacco Use (Control) Act, which was enacted in 2005 and amended in 2013 – to various stakeholders, including relevant ministries. The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) requested opinions on the project by July 14.

The existing law says nothing about e-cigarettes, but anti-tobacco activists have called for a ban on vapes.

Informally, e-cigarettes started arriving in Bangladesh from different countries a few years ago and quickly became popular among young people.

As the demand for e-cigarettes continues to rise in the country, British American Tobacco, Bangladesh has already started producing and selling e-cigarettes in the market.

Additionally, United Japan Tobacco Limited is also reportedly gearing up to market e-cigarettes in Bangladesh.

Under the new law, no candies, spices, flavors, addictives or any other mixtures can be added to tobacco and tobacco products. Anyone who violates this provision will for the first time be liable to imprisonment for up to six months or a fine of up to Tk 2 lakh or both. The penalty will continue to double for each repetition of the offence.

The draft also proposes to ban the sale of tobacco and tobacco products by street shops and street vendors.

Additionally, provisions are incorporated to prohibit the sale of tobacco and tobacco products within 100 meters of the boundaries of educational institutions, hospitals, clinics, playgrounds and children’s parks.

Anyone who violates these provisions will be fined a maximum of Tk 5,000 for the first time and the penalty will continue to double for each repetition of the offence, he added.

The draft stipulates that in order to sell tobacco and tobacco products, sellers must obtain a license from a local government agency. Anyone who sells tobacco products without such a license will be subject to a maximum fine of Tk 50,000 for the first offense and the penalty will continue to double for each subsequent offense.

In addition, it has been proposed to print health warnings in Bengali with color images and text relating to the harm caused by the use of tobacco products on 90% of packaging, cartons and containers of all types of products. tobacco.

Although the current law provides for the printing of health warnings in Bengali with color images and text on the top 50% of bidis and e-cigarette packs and boxes of jorda, chewing tobacco, it is currently printed in the lower half.

ABM Jubayer, executive director of Progga, an anti-tobacco organization, called the proposed amendment “an opportune moment”.

“If adopted and effectively implemented within the shortest possible time, it will be possible to build a tobacco-free Bangladesh by 2040 as announced by the Prime Minister,” he told The Business. Standard.

ABM Jubayer said that although the tobacco control law was amended in 2013, it actually has many shortcomings. However, the amendment that has been drafted is logical in relation to reality.

Maria J. Book