Ciggie fad to stay, prices be damned

KATHMANDU: Despite the various bans as well as price increase — due to government’s tax increase — the sale and consumption of cigarettes has not slowed down.

The availability of cigarettes in the valley is not a concern; cigarettes are available in any shop at every corner.

“There are a wide range of cigarettes to choose from and the pricing is also different so people don’t have to necessarily buy the most expensive brand, though most prefer brands by Surya,” said Ram Nath Mishra, proprietor of Sonu Pan Bhandar.

There are approximately 30 Nepali brands of cigarettes that cater to all segments of society, and they are not necessarily very expensive as blends of each brand differs from another. The trend in smoking has not been curtailed by age restrictions or increase in taxes as

well as prices. Many children as well as young adults have ready access to cigarettes.

“I have been smoking for many years now. Once it becomes a habit one needs it regularly and even if the prices go up

people will not stop smoking,” said Umesh Shah,

a student.

The prices of cigarettes have gone up considerable in the past two years while many new brands have also surfaced for a low price promising high quality flavour.

“People usually smoke Surya on a regular basis, though Marlboro also has a loyal customer segment. International brands are usually bought by tourists or foreigners. Otherwise, local brands cater to the majority of the local market,” said Babu Ram Shrestha, a cigarette shop owner at Durbar Marg.

Be it trend or habit, either way the cigarette business is lucrative in the country as no matter how high prices rise sales are still growing.

“Just like in the case of alcohol, the cigarette sales have not curtailed. Both products are readily

available everywhere and even if I don’t have the finances to buy anything else I always have the money to buy cigarettes,” said Amit Budathoki,

insurance seller. Rise in prices of food products is a major concern, but not cigarette prices.