Filter said on September 1 that Bangladesh will ban e-cigarettes and nicotine packs. The Ministry of Health has now drafted an amendment to Bangladesh’s Smoking and Use of Tobacco Products (Control) Act, which has been reviewed by the Cabinet and is awaiting approval by Parliament.
The government has been considering a ban on e-cigarettes since an outbreak of lung injuries related to the use of e-cigarettes or e-cigarette products in the United States in 2019, which was later determined to be caused by adulteration of illegal products.
If the proposed ban is approved, anyone caught vaping, regardless of nicotine content, would be subject to a fine of 5,000 BDT ($46). The sale, production, import, export, storage and transportation of e-cigarettes will also be banned, with penalties including higher fines, three months in jail or both. Larger scale activities or repeat offenses will face longer sentences.
The amendment would also ban flavorings in tobacco products, increase fines for smoking in public places, and impose further penalties on unlicensed tobacco sales.
Groups such as the Bangladesh Medical Association support the proposed ban, equating e-cigarettes with smoking cigarettes.
“A ban on vape devices would have disastrous consequences for people trying to quit smoking,” said Nafis Farhan, a member of Vape Voice Bangladesh. He attributed the country’s persistently high smoking rate to “the limited availability of smoking cessation tools such as e-cigarettes.”
Michael Randall, director of the World Federation of e-Cigarette Enthusiasts, said the proposed ban represented a “missed opportunity to reduce harm and a setback for public health”.