With 37.8 million adults consuming tobacco products, Bangladesh has one of the largest populations of tobacco users in the world. Although the overall prevalence of tobacco use among adults declined from 43.3 percent to 35.3 percent from 2009 to 2017, the overall prevalence of cigarette smoking is still very high and did not change at all over the period (GATS, 2017). According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2017, overall cigarette smoking prevalence is 14 percent among adults and 28.7 percent among men.
The high prevalence of tobacco use and cigarette smoking remains a major health concern for Bangladesh. As a part of its continuous effort to generate effective knowledge and evidence for advocating better tobacco policies, ARK Foundation, Bangladesh with the support of the Tobacco Control Capacity Programme (TCCP) organized a stakeholder engagement meeting to share research findings and gather further insights from the various stakeholders on the main research themes of the TCCP: Illicit trade in Tobacco for Bangladesh and Implementation of Article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
The workshop was helpful in circulating the recent evidences on the aforementioned issues and discussing possible interventions to reduce the illicit trade of such products. The workshop was attended by policymakers, health experts, development workers, academicians, policy advocates, and youths. They emphasized the importance of implementing evidence-based policies to reduce the prevalence of illicit trade and called for greater cooperation among all stakeholders to tackle industry interference in Bangladesh. The participants called for strengthened cooperation among all stakeholders and recommended stronger implementation of policies to achieve tobacco-free Bangladesh by 2041.