Zarda and Gul: Smokeless Tobacco Products in Bangladesh


Bangladesh is one of the 11 countries in South and South East Asia Region, which comprises 90 percent of global smokeless tobacco users. Given the high number of users and the serious health consequences of tobacco use, these countries have set a target to reduce 30 percent in prevalence among persons over 15 years of age. In terms of number, almost 250 million adults consume smokeless tobacco in these 11 countries. These countries are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste (, Accessed on September 11, 2013)

As women are the major users of smokeless tobacco products, this investigative study carried out by Anti-Tobacco Women’s Alliance called the Tamak Birodhi Nari Jote (TABINAJ) is very significant. Twenty two TABINAJ member organizations in 38 districts of 7 divisions of the country got directly involved in the study under the guidance of its secretariat, Narigrantha Prabartana. They took two very commonly used smokeless products Zarda and Gul, for which the production factories could be identified. It became at the same time an action research for generating information for awareness building and for developing policy issues. There is hardly any information available on the production of the smokeless tobacco products. This study is limiting itself into production and its economic aspects at this stage, with information on labours. The study on users has been done in a limited way. However, this study is a first of its own kind in the country.


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