Tobacco pro­duc­tion kills

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS -

WE are shocked at a re­port in this daily the other day mark­ing ‘ World No Tobacco Day’, that has re­vealed that as many as 3000 chil­dren aged be­tween seven and 15 work in tobacco fac­to­ries in Lal­monirhat. Other chil­dren of this area work in tobacco fields. Thus, in­stead of go­ing to schools these chil­dren are ex­posed to the harm­ful nico­tine fumes emit­ted dur­ing pro­duc­tion and de­prived of fresh air. Of­ten the en­tire fam­ily is en­gaged in the tobacco pro­duc­tion and so suf­fers from all kinds of ail­ments. Be­cause of poverty and lack of al­ter­na­tive op­tions of liveli­hood, the peo­ple of Lal­monirhat are com­pelled to go into tobacco farm­ing, of­ten in­volv­ing their chil­dren as well.

As re­ported in this paper that prices of es­sen­tial food items have risen more than the price of tobacco prod­ucts. This means tobacco has be­come more af­ford­able than food! Many farm­ers have switched from cul­ti­vat­ing food crops to tobacco farm­ing. This is be­cause food crops have be­come costly to pro­duce and do not give the ex­pected re­turns while tobacco cul­ti­va­tion gives higher prof­its. Such a grim pic­ture must pro­voke the govern­ment to take im­me­di­ate steps. Firstly, it must en­cour­age par­ents to send their chil­dren to schools in­stead of fac­to­ries. Se­condly, the tax on tobacco prod­ucts have to be in­creased to make them more ex­pen­sive to con­sume and pro­duce. Fi­nally, farm­ers must be given in­cen­tives to make food crop cul­ti­va­tion vi­able enough so that they do not shift to tobacco farm­ing. — The Daily Star ( Bangladesh)

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