Kathmandu, January 12
Owing to different government programmes in force to discourage consumption of tobacco, the import of tobacco products has come down lately.
As the government has been implementing the 90 per cent coverage area of pictorial health warning (PHW) on packets of tobacco products and has also banned sales and consumption of tobacco products in public places, these provisions seem to have brought down the consumption rate of tobacco products of late.
As per statistics of Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), import of tobacco products has come down by 30.8 per cent in the first four months of fiscal year 2017-18 compared to the same period of the previous fiscal year. NRB data shows that Nepal imported Rs 571 million worth of tobacco products in the first four months of fiscal 2017-18 against import of Rs 824 million worth of tobacco products in the same period of fiscal 2016-17.
“While different programmes of the government to discourage consumption of tobacco products seem to have had an effect, the public has also started becoming aware about the hazards of tobacco consumption,” said Shree Krishna Giri, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health (MoH).
According to him, MoH has been effectively implementing the provision regarding 90 per cent coverage area of pictorial health warning on packets of tobacco products.
Besides the PHW provision, MoH has also banned the sale of tobacco products in retail without government licence from March last year in a bid to regulate the sale of tobacco products and discourage consumption. Moreover, the government has also banned licence holders of tobacco products from selling other retail products.
Meanwhile, MoH today launched the Tobacco Products Control Convention Strategy-2030 aiming to reduce tobacco consumption in the long term.
As per Giri, the strategy incorporates various measures for reducing tobacco consumption like monitoring tobacco consumption in public places, declaring more smoke-free public areas and motivating the people to give up tobacco, among others.
MoH officials opined that the strategy will act as a guideline for policymakers, service providers and related government and non-government organisations to formulate and implement tobacco control programmes.
A version of this article appears in print on January 13, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.