Tobacco production kills
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)