Every year, the consumption of tobacco kills 57,000 people and cripples 3.82 lakh others while another 4.20 crore people fall victims to passive smoking. Mentioning that the rules and regulations formulated in 2015 and tobacco control taskforces set up at the national, district and upazila levels for implementation of the law, it said the law is not being implemented properly for lack of necessary directives of the authorities concerned. Citing the ‘Global Adult Tobacco Survey- 2009’, the letter mentioned that at least 43.3 per cent population of the country use tobacco products as Bangladesh is among the top tobacco consuming countries in the world. Declaring Bangladesh secretariat a smoke-free zone, the cabinet division has asked the secretaries of all the ministries to make sure that no one smokes in the country’s administrative hub, reports UNB. Talking to UNB on Monday, Serajul said the cabinet division in response to their request issued a letter asking all the secretaries to keep the secretariat free from smoking. “It’s possible to make the secretariat smoke-free if all the secretaries take effective measures as per the directive of the cabinet secretary,” he said. Mentioning that the National Tobacco Control Cell (NTCC) under the health ministry is working to cut the consumption of tobacco to the zero level, the health services division secretary said smoking will be eliminated from all the offices if the secretariat, the administrative hub, effectively implements the tobacco control law. In the letter, the Health Ministry had sought the cabinet Secretary’s steps to declare the Secretariat a smoke-free area, his directives for all ministries to ensure a smoke-free atmosphere in all subordinate offices and hang warning notices, ban the sale of tobacco products inside the secretariat and strengthen and make visible the mobile court drives. The letter also said the government enacted the Smoking and TobaccoProducts Usage (Control)Act, 2005 which was amended in 2013. As part of prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s announcement to bring the tobacco consumption to a zero level by 2040, health services division secretary Serajul Huq Khan made the request in a letter sent to the cabinet secretary M Shafiul Alam on 2 October. The division has sent the copies of a letter to all the secretaries recently asking them to implement the directive issued following a request made by the health and family welfare ministry.