Vol. 5 Num 295 Sat. March 26, 2005  
Front Page

Anti-smoking law effective from today

The law restricting smoking at public places comes into effect from today as per Thursday's government gazette notification issued on the "Smoking and Tobacco Products Usage (Control) Act 2005".

There is provision for a fine of Tk 50 for violating the law that was passed in parliament on March 13.

"The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare set the date through a gazette notification as per sub-clause 1(2) of the Act after the president's consent to the bill," an official announcement said on Thursday.

The law defines as public places educational institutions, offices of the government, semi-government and autonomous bodies, libraries, elevators, hospitals and clinics, court buildings, airport buildings, sea and river port buildings, railway station buildings, bus terminal buildings, ferries, cinema halls, covered exhibition centres, theatres, shopping centres, public toilets, and government and private owned children parks.

Motor vehicles, buses, trains, passenger ships, launches, all mechanised vehicles and aeroplanes are referred to as public transport under the law.

The law, however, does not prohibit smoking in open space, hotels and restaurants and parks.

The law suggests that the owner, caretaker, controlling authorities and management of public places and public transport could have an area within designated as smoking zone.

It prohibits advertisement of tobacco products in cinema halls, government and private TV channels, sale of films or videotape containing tobacco products, publication of tobacco advertisements in books, magazines, leaflets, handbills, billboards, newspapers, etc.

The law also said that other existing laws related to anti-smoking would also require compliance. Other laws include, a) The Railway Act, 1890, b) The Juvenile Smoking Act, 1919, c) The Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna and Rajshahi Metropolitan police ordinances.

The law also prohibits donation of any tobacco products, sponsoring in any ceremony or sports tournament and sponsoring scholarship to individuals by tobacco producers.

Violators of this clause of the law may be liable to three months' imprisonment or a fine of Tk 1000.

The law also prohibits installation of any vending machine from where tobacco products can be purchased through an automatic system.

All packets or containers of tobacco products must display, at least on 30 per cent of the total area, any of the health warnings: Smoking leads to death; Smoking can cause stroke; Smoking can cause heart diseases; Smoking can cause lungs cancer; Smoking leads to respiratory problems; Smoking is bad for health.

Meanwhile, to encourage tobacco farmers to cultivate alternative crops, the government has decided to provide them with soft loan support.