Anti-tobacco campaigners have thwarted a ‘roadshow’ by British American Tobacco Bangladesh (BATB) on the BUET campus.
They are calling it a tobacco company publicity stunt.
The protesters alleged that BATB had organized the “Battle of Minds 2017” public relations stunt on the pretext of generating employment, as it has at different universities in the past few years.
The BATB roadshows for this year's "Battle of Minds" started on Oct 10.
Anti-tobacco organisations Pratyasha, Aid Foundation, ACLAB, WBB Trust, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), Bangladesh Anti-Tobacco Alliance, Tamak Birodhi Nari Jote (TABINAJ), Dhaka Ahsania Mission, Tobacco Control and Research Cell (TCRC), and PROGGA organised a protest programme at the BUET premises on Wednesday morning against the ‘illegal campaign’.
They also submitted a memorandum to the BUET vice-chancellor to stop the event.
The roadshow was eventually canceled and the vice-chancellor’s office informed the protesters of the development.
Earlier on Oct 3, the PROGGA, a non-government anti-tobacco campaigner in Bangladesh, sent out an alert about the BoM 2017 programme to anti-tobacco organizations and media.
The BATB has been organizing this marketing event since 2004 to attract youth to smoking and influence policymakers, the campaigners allege.
"The Battle of Minds 2017" should be stopped to protect youth from the clutches of multinational tobacco companies like BAT in Bangladesh, they say.
Section 5 (C) of Smoking and Tobacco Products (Control) Act, 2005, which was amended in 2013, bans the use of a tobacco company’s name, sign, logo, or trademark for arranging competitions, sponsoring events or presenting awards.
A violation of the section of the law will result in either a monetary fine not exceeding Tk 100,000, a jail sentence of not less than three months or both.