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A significant gap often exists between tobacco control laws as they are written and the way they are enforced on the street. To help countries improve the implementation of their laws, The Union has developed Smokefree implementation and enforcement, a new 5-day coursethat was recently piloted in Bangladesh.

Mr Md. Humayun Kabir, Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, spoke at the opening session of the course held in Dhaka from 19–24 January 2013. The selected course participants were 20 senior officials from the Bangladesh government and non-govermental organisations who are responsible for, or can influence, implementation and enforcement of comprehensive smokefree legislation at the national and sub -national levels.

During the course, participants reviewed Bangladesh's existing smokefree laws and implementation guidelines and identified opportunities and challenges for more effective enforcement. To provide a real-life context for their discussions, the group took a field trip to the types of public places covered under the law to observe methods of enforcement. International experts also shared lessons learnt and best practises developed by other countries facing similiar issues.

The participants often found themselves discussing the necessity of strengthening amendments to Bangladesh's national tobacco control law that are due to be discussed in Parliament in 2013. One major point of concern was the draft bill's inclusion of designated smoking areas, since these areas are ineffective in preventing non-smokers from being exposed to tobacco smoke. In line with their concern, The Union issued a press release on this issue.

Over the final two days of the course, participants developed action plans for both the national and district levels. Key objectives of their plans included:

• To pass the tobacco control law amendment bill in Parliament by April 2013

• To conduct a public information campaign in all public places and on public transport

 

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The Tobacco Control Department is based at The Union Europe Office, Edinburgh, registered charity no. SC039880
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