Kathmandu. Although smoking and consumption of tobacco products are prohibited in public places, the consumption of such substances has increased while challenging the law. Ignoring the law, smoking and tobacco products are being used recklessly.
The Tobacco Control and Regulation Act, 2068 prohibits consumption of tobacco products in public places. However, tobacco products are being used indiscriminately in public places.
Chief District Officer of Kathmandu Ghanshyam Upadhyay said that according to the provisions of the law, no one can smoke and use tobacco products in public places. He expressed his commitment to comply with the provisions of the law and informed that regular monitoring will be increased through security agencies to prevent smoking and tobacco consumption in public places.
Section 4 and 5 of the Tobacco Control Act states that no one can smoke or consume tobacco in public places. Public places are government, non-government and private sector offices, educational institutions, public transport and waiting rooms, public toilets etc. If someone smokes in a public place, the person will be fined 100 rupees and expelled from the place.
Similarly, in Section 11, persons under 18 years of age and pregnant women cannot be sold or forced to sell and distribute tobacco products. Educational institutions, hospitals and public places designated by the government can sell and distribute tobacco products only from licensed or licensed shops located 100 meters away from the premises. No one is allowed to distribute free tobacco products or give gifts. In addition, a provision has been made in the law to prohibit the retail sale of cigarettes. Chief District Officer of Kathmandu Upadhyaya said that effective monitoring will be done to see if all the provisions mentioned in the law have been implemented.
Five years ago, the Council of Ministers appointed the Assistant Chief District Officer or the Chief Administrative Officer to inspect whether the Tobacco Control and Regulation Act, 2068 has been violated in their district. Also, the chief district officer has been given the legal authority to hear and decide cases related to tobacco products. The inspector has the right to inspect whether smoking or selling is done in public places, and to check whether the producer of tobacco products has fulfilled the obligations according to the law or not.
Chief District Officer Upadhyay informed that special plans will be introduced to control the use of smoking and tobacco products and said – ‘There will be a complete ban on the sale and distribution of smoking and tobacco products in public places and around schools.’
According to a study, 27 thousand 137 people die every year due to consumption of tobacco products in Nepal. This is 14.9 percent of total deaths. Similarly, more than 8 million people die annually in the world due to tobacco products, and 1.2 million people living with smokers will also die due to smoking.
It is estimated that by the year 2030, one in six people will die due to tobacco consumption. Smoking has also been found to be the cause of 28 percent of heart disease in humans. It has been confirmed by scientific research that there are more than 4,800 toxic chemical elements in cigarettes and tobacco.
Cancer caused by consumption of tobacco products has increased by 150 percent, while death due to the same cancer has increased by 35 percent in 2018 compared to 2014.
Nepal signed the World Health Organization’s Tobacco Control Treaty in 2003 and ratified the treaty in 2006.
Section 4 of the Act states that smoking and tobacco use in public places is prohibited, but it has not been controlled in areas other than public transport and hospitals. Section 11 of the same Act states that persons under the age of 18 and pregnant women are not allowed to sell, distribute or cause tobacco products to be sold or provided free of charge, but there has been no control. Section 3 of the Act mentions that tobacco products cannot be distributed within 100 meters of houses and shops in public places including schools, health institutions, but it has not been observed. Stakeholders have said that tobacco products are being openly sold, distributed and consumed at the entrances of hospitals, schools, the Ministry of Health, and the Department of Health Services.
There is a legal provision that the producer must prepare at least 20 mock packs or packets. But some production companies are producing and selling even 10 khilis instead of 10 khilis, while traders have openly sold even a couple of khilis, but this has not been monitored. Anand Bahadur Chand, President of Exxon Nepal said that due to the lack of coordination between the Ministry of Health, Home Affairs, Federal Affairs and General Administration, and the Ministry of Industry for the control of tobacco products, tobacco products could not be controlled.