HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: The Metropolitan Police Range Hanumandhoka in coordination with the Kathmandu District Administration Office (KDAO) is slapping on people smoking in public places penalty ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 1 lakh.
DSP Dhiraj Pratap Singh, spokesperson for the range, informed they have not fined anyone for smoking in public areas till date.
Police have kept a record of smokers arrested on the first and the second day of the crackdown. Singh said they are also taking classes to educate people on the harmful effects of the tobacco.
Police release the offenders three hours after their attention. Singh said they will not spare repeat offenders and they will have to pay steep fines.
Since Wednesday, the day the crackdown began, police have arrested 247 for the smoking offence. The anti-smoking law defines government offices, corporations, educational institutions, libraries, airports, public vehicles, orphanages, childcare centres, cinema halls, elderly homes, cultural centres, children’s parks, hotels, restaurants, resorts, hostels, department stores, religious sites and industries as public places, prohibiting the sale and distribution of tobacco-related products in these areas. The Anti-Tobacco Act-2010, which the Parliament passed in April 2011 and took effect from August 2011, has it that individuals and firms, which breach the law, will have to pay a fine of Rs 100 to 100,000 depending on the nature of violations. The Act has also made mandatory to allocate 75 per cent of the space on cigarette packs or wrappers for pictorial health warning.
Komal Acharya, member-secretary of the policy framework committee on anti-tobacco act, said they are working in close coordination with KDAO and the metropolitan police for effective implementation of the act.
He said the police crackdown on smoking in public places is in keeping with the act.
Every year 16,000 people die because of tobacco consumption in Nepal, 90 per cent of them from lung cancer, according to records at hospitals. Twenty-nine per cent smokers are females and 49 per cent are male. There are 38 tobacco factories in the country and four per cent of the total income goes on tobacco consumption.
According to the Nepal Demographic Health Survey 2011, 52 per cent male and 13.3 per cent female (15-49) use tobacco.