rise of the use of emerging tobacco products (ETPs) among Bangladeshi youths
has been alarming over the years. As of October 2021, no scientific study has
been conducted to reveal the actual extent and dimensions of e-cigarette use in
Bangladesh. According to the 2017 Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), 0.20
percent of adult population (15 y/o and above) use e-cigarettes on a regular
basis in Bangladesh which is low compared to the prevalence of the use of
traditional tobacco products. According to GATS 2017, the number of people who
has heard about e-cigarettes is 6.4%.
should be noted that GATS is conducted on people of 15 years of age and above.
Therefore, the degree of its spread among school-going children, the primary
target of ETP companies, is not visible in GATS 2017 result. While it is true
that e-cigarettes have not taken over the market yet, its usage is undeniably on
the rise as manifested in the growing number of vaping clubs in localities[i]. The number of forums and groups in Facebook and other
social media platforms created to sell, review and exchange vaping items is
also growing fast.
Industry and Marketing
ETPs are not manufactured in Bangladesh yet, lots of local companies have grown
around the business of ETPs who import, market and sell such products. Vapor Cloud, Vape Company,
The Vape Cafe,
Vapor Hunter, Vapor Shopr, Vapor Hub, Vape Squad, Vape Circle BD,
Zero Vape, Gulshan VapeHouse, VapeGoodies, VapeShop Sky, and Vape Up are a few of these sellers.
Bangladesh, vape marketing strategies are predominantly focused on using
various social media platforms (E-cigarettecampaign in Facebook alarming). New Year offers, promotional hash tags,
cash on delivery are some of their strategies to attain customers as well as
business. Based on the lavish prices of these products and reviewing the social
media audiences of their social media handles, its target customers are likely
to belong to the young generation of affluent communities.
2020, Bangladesh Electronic Nicotine Delivery System Traders Association
(BENDSTA) was formed in collaboration of all major ENDS (i.e., vape) importers
in Bangladesh. The platform claims to be dedicated to ensuring the import of
quality ENDS products into the country, facilitating independent vape industry
section and promoting “constructive interaction” between industry and
of October 2021, BENDSTA website names Schumann Zaman, proprietor of Vapor
Cloud, as its President. Sanaul Haque of Vape Culture and Rezwan Ahmed of The
Vape Cafe have been listed respectively as Vice-President and General-Secretary
of the organization.
of Vapers (VoV) Bangladesh is a social media-based platform that has been found
to be particularly vocal on promoting ETPs as safe alternative to traditional
tobacco products and an effective tool for cessation.
and its Facebook page VoV have repeatedly made posts on social media distorting
scientific findings on vaping, sometimes even using name and logo of World
Health Organization (WHO) to spread its false claims.[ii]
On several occasions, BENDSTA made claims that encouraging the use of ETPs can
be an effective tool to build a tobacco-free Bangladesh by 2040, as envisioned
by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh in 2016.[iii]
such organization can be traced back to 2016. The organization, Vape Impoters
and Traders association of Bangladesh (VITAB), was formed in 2016. Schumann
Zaman, currently the President of BENDSTA, is also mentioned as the President
of VITAB. The two organizations share almost identical purposes. Despite the
formation of BENDSTA in 2020, there is no report of VITAB getting dissolved. Mr.
Zaman spoketo The Independent, a newspaper of Bangladesh, as the President of VITAB on
16 March 2021.
of Preventive Measures on ETPs
of October 2021, there is no law or regulatory policy in Bangladesh to
discourage or ban the production, import, marketing and sale of ETPs or ENDs. However,
as a response to the growing demands for a comprehensive ban on ETPs from the
anti-tobacco and public health organizations, activists and civil society
the health minister and high-level officials of the Ministry were found to be
vocal against ETPs.
March 2021, some 153 Members of Parliament (MPs) signed a letter, under the
banner of Bangladesh Parliamentary Forum for Health and Wellbeing, urged the Prime
Minister Sheikh Hasina to ban e-cigarettes.[v]
January 2021, research and advocacy organization PROGGA and Anti-Tobacco Media
Alliance (ATMA) met the Health and Family Welfare Minister and place a number
of amendment proposals for the country's tobacco control law. The proposals
included a ban on sale and import of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products.
The minister assured that the proposals would be taken into account seriously
during the process of amendment.[vi]
December 2019, the then Secretary at the Health Education and Family Welfare
Division of the Ministry of Health and Family welfare (MoHFW), also told in a
press conference that the Ministry had been "actively working to impose a
ban on the production, import and sale of e-cigarettes and all vaping tobaccos
to prevent health risks."[vii]
annual budget of FY 2017-18 introduced a 100 percent supplementary duty (SD) on
electronic cigarettes and its refills to discourage its consumption in
Bangladesh. Additionally, a 25 percent import tax was implied for the same.[viii]
The SD and import tax continued in the subsequent budgets.
https://www.theindependentbd.com/post/229802, accessed October 2021
https://www.facebook.com/vovbangladesh/posts/190954012471006/, accessed October 2021
https://www.dhakatribune.com/feature/2021/05/29/vaping-can-save-millions-of-lives-speakers-say-on-the-occasion-of-world-vape-day accessed October 2021
https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/2021/05/31/progga-calls-for-specific-taxes-on-tobacco-products-amending-law, accessed October 2021
https://www.daily-sun.com/post/540073/153-MP’s-urge-PM-to-ban-ecigarette-, accessed October 2021
https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/2021/01/04/health-minister-assures-of-amending-tobacco-control-law, accessed October 2021
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-bangladesh-ecigarates-idUSKBN1Y510C, accessed October 2021
https://www.dhakatribune.com/business/economy/2017/06/01/e-cigarette-customs-duty-hike/, accessed October 2021