Tamak Birodhi Nari Jote: Women’s Alliance in Tobacco Control, Bangladesh

Tabinaj is a network of Women’s organizations and individuals and has become part of Tobacco Control Group in Bangladesh bringing in new dimension in women’s role as advocates agaginst tobacco consumption.

Tabinaj is the first and only women’s alliance around the country active in 52 out of 68 districts of Bangladesh against tobacco use and cultivation. It was formally launched on 6th March, 2011 on the occasion of International Women’s Day (8th March).

Tabinaj is affiliated with UBINIG (Policy Research for Development Alternative), a research organization engaged in conduting intensive research on tobacco cultivation and its impact on food production since 2006 with supprt from International Development and Research Centre (IDRC), Canada. Tabinaj activities are supported by Campaing for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK), USA.

According to Global Adult Tobacco Survey (2009) and updates by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (April, 2014) women are among the 43.3% of adults (41.3 million) of the current tobacco users of Bangladesh. Smoking among women is low (1.5%) but much higher in use of smokeless tobacco products ( 27.9%). About 30.4% women are exposeb to tobacco smoke in workplaces and 20.8% in public places.

Bangladesh passed amendments in 2013 to its national tobacco control law,  "Smoking and Using of Tobacco Products (Control) Act, 2015". Smokeless tobacco products were brought under the ambit of the law, with prohibition of advertising of smokeless tobacco products (SLT).  The packaging of  smokeless tobacco products must display large, graphic health warnings. With coverage of smokeless tobacco products, roughly 21 million Women, previously overlooked by the law, will now be warned about the deadly effects of the tobacco use.

Tabinaj is working on various aspects of tobacco consumption, production and particularly on use of smokeless tobacco products.

-- Tabinaj participates in different programmes organised by TC groups at antional and local levels

-- Tabinaj is linking its work with Women’s Directorate under the Ministry of Women’s Affaire at the district level and with local government bodies

-- Tabinaj is working with the Members of Parliament and involving them in policy advocacy

-- Tabinaj member actively involve local administration in actions against Tobacco

In an investigation by Tabinaj 130 brands of Zarda (chewing tobacco) and 12 brands of Gul (powdered tobacco) are found to be produced in 35 districts.

Zarda and Sadapata are two major SLTs used with betel leaf Women are consuming these as a socially acceptable practice. Use of Gul is quite high but Khoinee is not much prevalent.

The inclusion of SLTs in the definition of tobacco products in the amended law has been one of the primary works of Tabinaj advocacy. Tabinaj works with women in tobacco cultivation and women as workers in bidi factories.


• Implementation of TC Law in the context of

(a) women as users and victims of smoking
(b) women as users of Smokeless Tobacco Products, and
(c) children used in tobacco product sales and tobacco tobacco Cultivation

• Tabinaj works on control of tobacco of all forms but focusing particularly on the smokeless tobacco products as these are less recognized as “problem”. Consumption of SLT is one of the commonly ‘accepted’ cultural practices among men and women but very little information is known about its harmful effects.

• Breaking the Barrier of implementation by awareness raising on the amended law at the grass root lavel and working for implementation of the rules


• Resisting aggressive tobacco cultivation in the food growing areas. Stopping and restricting tobacco cultivation and reclaiming lands for food production is becoming more and more urgent as tobacco cultivation is expanding from one area to other.

• Working with the policy makers to  formulate tobacco cultivation and formulation of policies to discourage tobacco cultivation.

• Eliminate the use of women and child labour in tobacco production.



Narigrantha Prabartana, a women’s resource centre and first feminist publishing house in Bangladesh is acting as the seretariat of TABINAJ. Narigrantha Prabartana (NGP) hactively netwos with women-led organizations all over the country. NGP publishes books written by and for women, and  provides active support to women’s movements.


Convenor: Farida Akther faridaakther.ubinig@gmail.com

Coordinator: Sayyida Akther sayyidaakhter@gmail.com

Advisor: Shima Das Shimu shimadasshimu@gmail.com


Tabinaj membership is by organizations and individuals. There are 90 active member organizations and individuals in 52 districts. Fifteen organizations are taking leading role in carrying out Tabinaj activities in close collaboration with the secretariat.


NARIGRANTHA PRABARTANA, 6/8 Sir Syed Road, Muhammedpur, Dhaka 1207, Bangladesh.
Tel: 880-2-8124533/8801711594400; E-mail: narigrantha narigrantha@gmail.com
Website: www.ubinig.org

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