New anti-tobacco campaign launched to prevent some of 100,000 deaths a year
Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com
Published: 2016-11-10 01:39:13.0 BdST Updated: 2016-11-10 01:39:13.0 BdST
An aggressive mass media campaign to show the deadly effect of tobacco use and consumption has been launched in Dhaka.
State Minister for health Zahid Maleque on Wednesday inaugurated the campaign titled “Smoking causes lung cancer; See it…Believe it,” which would be aired on all major national TV channels in Bangladesh for a period of five weeks from Wednesday.
The campaign is also designed to support the warning labels now used on tobacco packs in Bangladesh.
It was produced with technical support from the Vital Strategies, formerly known as World Lung Foundation.
“We are committed to reducing tobacco-related disease and premature death in our economy. It is also compatible with our commitments under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” the state minister said.
Tobacco-related lung cancer and other tobacco-related chronic diseases lead to the deaths of nearly 100,000 Bangladeshis every year.
This new campaign aims to encourage smokers to quit and discourage youth from starting to use tobacco, by showing the real health harms of tobacco use, the Vital Strategies said.
The 30-second public service announcement (PSA) features Hafizul Mina, a tobacco user for 35 years, who developed life-threatening lung cancer.
Mina is shown interacting with his doctors and talking about how he developed cancer from tobacco use and how it has impacted his life. He needed surgery in his lungs but there is little hope of being cured.
From his hospital bed, he holds up a cigarette pack with an image of cancerous lung and with a message: “Smoking causes lung cancer. It’s on the packs. See it... Believe it!”
Billboards featuring Mina with graphic scenes of his cancer operation and the images of cancerous tumor will also be displayed in community settings around the country.
Prof Sohel Reza Choudhury of the National Heart Foundation Hospital & Research Institute said: “Unfortunately, Hafizul Mina is only one in a long line of patients that come to our hospitals daily with serious conditions caused by tobacco.”
“What is most frustrating to the doctors is that these conditions are entirely preventable, but instead, cause considerable personal harm and distress to the individual and their family. It has social and financial costs too,” he said at the launching ceremony.
Shafiqul Islam, Country Advisor at Vital Strategies said they were “happy” to support the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in implementing the third national tobacco control communication campaign this year.
According to The Tobacco Atlas, tobacco is the cause of 14.6 percent of adult male deaths and 5.7 percent of adult female deaths in Bangladesh – more than the average in other low-income countries.
Tobacco-related disease – including stroke - kills almost 100,000 Bangladeshis every year, while another 382,000 suffer from chronic illnesses.
Research has shown that mass media campaigns and large graphic pack warnings are among the most effective means to encourage people to stop using tobacco.
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